You are raising your kids, you receive a letter/email from the school that your child is about to embark on a personal exploration journey based on self-awareness, decision making, building positive relationships, and empathy. And it’s called social and emotional learning. And you think, “Is that what education is now-a-days?” Guess what? It sure is, and if it isn’t, it should be!
Okay, okay, some parents/families might think, “this is just what we need!” After all, it’s been a crappy year. Your kids are feeling lonely, disorganized, confused by the new teaching strategies over Zoom or Google Meets and they feel unsettled. Further, they are heading back into the classroom and are still not able to truly connect with their peers due to COVID restrictions. Teachers are doing hybrid teaching, yuck, it’s hard for everyone! Moreover, based on this past years teaching and learning rollout, our children have become digital whiz kids, whether we wanted them to be or not, they are on their devices ALL THE TIME. Kids also the lack the normalcy of being able to socialize face to face on school campus, again based on COVID restrictions. Now being in-person again for developing young minds is just awkward. And, nothing feels normal – at all!
The question becomes whose job is it to support our children’s emotional, mental, and social health? You probably have figured out that is has become all of our jobs. We just cannot ask teachers to do it alone and we can’t ask parents to know how their kids are relating to others in school whether they are kind, mean, acting out or if they are withdrawn etc., kids are often different at home. This means we must work together, stay open-minded and communicate with each other for the sake of the child.
While schools are now beginning to jump on board and intentionally implementing social and emotional curriculum’s, which in fact is a research-based approach to helping student learn more effectively, we also must educate the parent and share these strategies. Below are a few ways to get in touch with social and emotional strategies with your kids as well as how to work in partnership with teachers– who also care about this part of your child’s emotional development.
Tips for Parents from kid-grit:
- During parent/teacher meetings ask questions not only about your child’s academic learning but ask the teacher to share behavioral updates, this way you can address the challenges together.
- Talk with your kids often, this helpful article from the Newport Academy has five great tips on how to talk to teens and other really smart ways to connect to your kids.
- If your school is offering workshops and parent engagement opportunities, participate! This is for you. You will help close the gap by building an understanding and connection with your child and school staff by doing these activities.
- Stay open minded, accept new ideas and learn about this process for the sake of growth within yourself and your kids. Your kids may be picking social cues up from you.
- Try some mindfulness and healthy habit building in the home. The fact that you have a chance to take a breather and focus some attention on yourself can go a long way. A bit of self-care, wellness and self-love is not selfish.
As we approach summer and fall, we will need to carefully watch how our kids are interacting, communicating, learning and we need to identify ways to reacquaint themselves to the new world of post-COVID. The social and emotional learning skills for all of us are more important now than ever before. Even if it’s not your kid, maybe you can support someone else’s. We have seen layers of trauma upon trauma in the last 15 months. This is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with school staff and other families. Ask yourself, how are we better built and prepared to improve life and support each other while we are adjusting?
For breakfast, I had coffee, stevia, cream, and one teaspoon of coconut oil.
This post originally appeared on the kid-git blog on May 29, 2021.