5 Social Emotional Learning Skills To Support Your Student

Middle school student typing on laptop


What Is Social Emotional Learning?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a key component of a positive educational experience and student development. It is the process through which students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities. From managing emotions to making responsible and caring decisions, a social emotional learning curriculum is integral to student success.  

When students feel ready to take ownership of their experiences, they are more likely to succeed in school, have positive relationships, and achieve their goals. Many parents are curious to know more about these skills as well as how they can offer support for their students. We’ll review these key skills and identify some social emotional learning tips so you can help support your learner in further developing them. 


Understanding the Key Social Emotional Learning Skills

There are many different frameworks and ways of thinking about SEL skills. One of the most used and widely accepted frameworks comes from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), who identifies five key skills.  


1. Establishing and Maintaining Healthy Relationships 

Positive relationships take communication, cooperation, negotiation, and many other skills. Encourage your student to get involved in things like team sports, clubs, or community activities to work on building healthy communication and relationship skills. If a conflict arises between them and someone else, try role-playing with your student to help them learn how to manage conflict and show empathy. 


2. Making Responsible Decisions 

Students need to be able to balance many personal, ethical, and social factors to make good choices. Helping your student understand consequences, whether positive or negative, can help them develop this skill and determine how to make the right choice for themselves and others. Teach your student strategies like making a pros and cons list, or playing “what if” to put themselves in a situation before it happens. 


3. Empathizing and Understanding Social Awareness  

Social awareness allows students to empathize with others and understand their perspectives. Developing this skill can help students to develop compassion, improve relationship skills, and, may introduce them to new ideas or approaches they would not have considered. Try having regular discussions using language your student understands about life circumstances, current world events, and historical challenges to help them understand other perspectives.  


4. Establishing Self-Awareness 

Identifying our own emotions is a learned skill, and it can take effort and practice to see how they impact our behaviors. Try talking to your student about exploring the way different emotions make us feel and act to help them build self-awareness. Note that the way you deal with your own emotions demonstrates real-world examples of self-awareness for your student.


5. Exercising Self-Management

To achieve what you set out to do requires self-management. When it comes to self-management in the school context, there are three key components: 

  • Self-Control
    Work with your student to understand how to manage their emotions and learn how to effectively exercise them in different situations. Explore social emotional learning activities like taking a deep breath, journaling, or talking through a problem—all of which can be effective ways of dealing with emotions at all ages. 
  • Regulating Goals
    Goal regulation helps your student set and achieve the goals that will make them happy. Consider using a planner to practice time management. You can also help your student set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) goals and document their achievement. Not only will this allow your student to accomplish something they want to do, but their confidence level will increase simultaneously! 
  • Managing School Workload
    Students will feel confident and thrive when they can effectively manage their school workload. This is a great opportunity to start reviewing your student’s homework assignments and projects with them regularly, even every day. Make it a game, writing it all out, and producing an order in which to work on them. Give your student pep talks when they’re having a hard time—and ask them to give you pep talks too!

Online schools like Connections Academy® emphasize a social emotional learning curriculum. This approach gives your student a unique, well-rounded experience, which empowers them to be their best selves. If you are interested in exploring online school, attend a Connections Academy Information Session to learn more about the benefits of online school. It’s never too late to make the switch to a new school experience.   

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