In the age of mobile devices and social media, it seems like we are more connected than ever. However, studies have shown that the technology evolutions has caused more seclusion and people withdrawing from real social interaction. In combination with a more diverse population with different backgrounds and cultures this provides good reason to develop strong social skills in children.
· Self-awareness: Understanding one’s own emotions, goals, values, limitations, strengths, and how they are all interconnected.
· Self-management: The ability to regulate emotions and behaviors to manage stress and impulses.
· Social awareness: Empathy and compassion for those who are different, while recognizing social norms in various situations.
· Relationship skills: The ability to maintain healthy and rewarding relationships by communicating clearly, actively listening, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, resolving conflict and asking for help.
· Responsible decision making: Learning to make choices by considering ethics, safety, risk, consequences and other people.
It takes role models, mentors, classroom efforts and parent involvement to develop these skills to increase social and emotional behaviors. Parents can lead the effort through community leadership and speaking with schools about incorporating SEL. Schools can be a support but it also takes community – after-school programs, mentorships and getting involved in activities with other children that promote positive social interaction.
1 Edutopia, 2019, Why social and Emotional Learning is Essential for Students