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4 Easy Ways to Help Kids Build Social and Emotional Skills

4 Easy Ways to Help Kids Build Social and Emotional Skills

You know social and emotional skills are important for kids to learn. But how do you easily teach them, or bring them into your daily routine?

Here are 4 simple steps to help kids build these skills every day.

(P.S. You don’t need to do them all right away!)

The 4 simple steps

  1. Talk about emotions!

    When kids feel strong or difficult emotions, give them the chance to work through that emotion and understand it. Let kids know that feeling emotional is okay. Help them name the emotion. Then explain why some behaviors are not okay.

    Picture this: A child screams and hits another child for taking a toy without asking. What do you say?

    Try saying: “I see that you feel angry. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s not okay to hit or hurt others. You can tell that friend that you were not done with the toy.”

  2. Practice the skills yourself! And admit when you make a mistake.

    Kids are always watching and listening – especially when we don’t realize it! You can teach kids how to manage emotions by showing them how you do it for yourself. Just add narration! What does that mean? Talk about how you feel and what you need.

    Here’s an example. If you’re feeling frustrated about something, take a deep breath and say “I’m feeling frustrated right now. I need some time to breathe and calm down”.

    Admit when you make mistakes too. If you yell at a child unnecessarily, apologize and try again. Like this: “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have yelled, that wasn’t helpful. I was feeling really frustrated. I want to try talking about this again.”

  3. Connect or Check-in Time.

    Take a minute or two (or more if you can!) each day to really connect with the kids in your life. Turn off your phone, put away distractions, and be 100% present in the moment with them. Ask them how they are feeling, what their favorite part of the day was, or just play together. This connection helps a child feel cared for, heard, seen, and understood.

  4. Use physical tools and create calm spaces

    Physical items and calm spaces can be awesome tools for practicing emotional skills. This could be a favorite stuffed animal or book, a big comfy pillow or bean bag chair, or even calming music. When a child is feeling a strong emotion – use these things to help them feel better.

    You can also create a “calm-down corner”. What is that? It’s a space where a child can go when they feel those big emotions. If your corners are full – don’t worry! Any calm space will work. Just add soft items like pillows, low lights, and the physical items above.

Let’s wrap it up!

You can do all 5 of these things today, but even if you practice doing just one of them consistently, it will become second nature. Add things as you go. All small steps help you get there.

Do you want more detailed tips on all of these steps? We’ve got more in-depth blogs for each of these steps over on our main blog!

Remy Bessolo
Author and Forest School Educator

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