How Social-Emotional skills will help your child in life
What are Social-Emotional skills and how will it help your child? Vital information for parents right here...
Helping kids in acing examinations alone won’t guarantee their success in the future. However, it is sometimes difficult not to get caught up in the pressures of having a school-going child. After all, the last thing you want for them is to lag behind in class.
Research has shown that emotional well-being is an important factor in child’s ability to learn and stay motivated. The importance of emotional quotient (EQ) cannot be emphasised enough.
Striking a balance between academics and social-emotional skills is of utmost importance for a child’s wellbeing.
So we spoke to an expert to help us better understand what social-emotional skills are and how it can help your child strike that ever-important balance in life.
Dawn Sim is the founder of The Open Centre and has a Master’s degree in Counselling with extensive experience working with children and teenagers. She is a facilitator and trainer of FRIENDS, a social- emotional skills programme as well as Paws b, a mindfulness programme from Oxford.
As a counsellor, she supports both parents and children from five to 18 years of age. Some of the areas she covers include: behaviour management, improving self-esteem and coping skills in schools and at home.
Children are not immune to the high pressure epidemic. The leading sources of stress for children today are grades, homework and examination; family stress; and peer-related stress including friends and bullying.
Helping our children build strong academic skills is great, but that’s just one of the many elements that make a well-rounded education. We have seen children who do well academically but struggle socially and suffer emotionally.
Sim feels that by teaching our children social and emotional skills, they learn to better regulate their emotions and better manage the stresses that come their way.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process by which children develop fundamental lifeskills for success in school and life. It teaches five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioural competencies:
- self- management
- social awareness
- relationship skills
- responsible decision-making
More about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) on the next page…
The ability to coordinate these competencies when dealing with daily situations and challenges provides a foundation for better adjustment and school performance. It is also reflected in more positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress, and improved grades.
“Recognizing this, the Ministry of Education, Singapore formally introduced SEL into local schools to raise not only academic success but also to help students inculcate good values and be responsible citizens of tomorrow” adds Sim.
Parents repeatedly tell children to “calm down” or “pay attention” but often without elaborating on how to do so.
“Mindfulness” practice – the learning of attention skills and compassion, allows children to experience quiet and stillness, find an inner balance which can reduce overstimulation that is so intrusive in modern lives.
Other benefits of a regular mindfulness practice include:
- Improved attention and concentration
- Increased self-awareness and self-understanding
- Greater ability to relax the body and release physical tension
- Responding to stress in a calmer manner
- Control over one’s thinking without contemplating on unwelcome thoughts
Sim says that when kids are emotionally flooded, they can lose ability to focus their attention. It is thus critical for kids to learn how to regulate their emotions so as to maximize learning.
Mindfulness practice increases not only a child’s social and emotional skills and resiliency, but their ability to stay focus and learn.
Learn about the programmes offered at Open Centre on the next page…
The two programmes at The Open Centre aim to help children to build confidence, resilience, develop optimism and calmness. They equip children with inner strength so that they can be resilient in the face of obstacles, as well as opportunities.
Fun Friends are for younger children and it teaches resilience skills such as:
- Understanding own feelings and feelings of others
- Ways to manage our feelings
- Speaking in a confident voice
- Trying new things
- Positive vs Negative thoughts
- Making Friends
- Relaxation and other essential life skills
The Resilient Child programme is for children seven to 11. With emotional maturation, children in this age group will learn the skills mentioned above as well as the “mindfulness” component.
Sim says, “I believe, as parents, besides helping our children to build strong academic skills, we must also give our children a lifeline – an inner reservoir of strength from which they can draw.” The Open Centre is on a mission to help raise happy, resilient and confident children.
So parents, we hope we’ve helped you understand the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and how it will help your child. Do leave a comment below to let share your thoughts about this topic with us.