What is Social Emotional Learning and How Can It Benefit Your Child?

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

In life, people who have a strong social-emotional skills are better equipped to navigate ups and downs and make complex, multifaceted decisions. The same goes with school! Students who have the skills, attitudes and behaviors that enable them to thrive academically are equipped for lifelong learning and happiness.  

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning—often referred to as simply social emotional learning, or SEL—as the process through which people acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to: 

  • Develop healthy identities 
  • Manage emotions 
  • Achieve personal and collective goals
  • Feel and show empathy for others
  • Establish and maintain supportive relationships
  • Make responsible and caring decisions 

Helping your child develop social emotional skills and embrace social and emotional learning are both important in your quest to help your child achieve. Here are the five key areas of social emotional learning and tips to help your child cultivate these aptitudes:  

  1. Self-awareness – This is your child’s ability to understand their own thoughts and emotions and how their behaviors influence the world around them. You can build your child’s self-awareness with open communication and dialogue about emotions, values, ideas and common societal topics like prejudice. Encourage your child to pursue interests and embrace the mindset that they are never done learning (a growth mindset). 
  2. Self-management – As children grow into young adults, they must learn how to manage their own emotions and behaviors, especially when it comes to achieving goals. As a parent, you can help your child practice and hone planning and organizational skills. You can encourage them to take initiative on their own when they are striving toward something and remind them that all difficult endeavors require discipline. 
  3. Responsibility – Decision-making is a part of life, and children must learn how to make good, responsible choices. Show your children through example how to be open-minded, make reasoned judgments, and analyze ideas, information and facts. Remind them of their responsibilities at home and hold them to high expectations as a citizen, student, family member and friend. 
  4. Relationship skills – Navigating any relationship requires good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, listening skills and more. Show your child what good communication looks like. Talk about how to develop and maintain positive relationships in all areas of their life. 
  5. Social awareness – Social awareness involves many things: empathy, understanding perspectives of others, feeling compassion for others, understanding social norms in different settings and more. In school, it’s obvious why this is important. Students must be able to listen to others, have discussions, understand how organizations and systems can influence behavior and more.  

While your student’s acquisition of academic knowledge is obviously important, so are their soft skills—such as decision making, teamwork and critical thinking. In college and life, people must be able to work with others successfully and communicate. They must prioritize their work and be trustworthy and reliable. Social emotional learning is an important part of education and helps students become happier, resilient, well-rounded students.  

To learn more about how Huntington’s programs can help your student become a more confident, self-driven student, call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN.