August 15, 2022

Can Social-Emotional Learning Help Kids With The Aftereffects of Pandemic Stress?

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Education, Parents, Schools

heart and brain graphic with text: social meptional learning helps children cope

The last two years have taken a heavy toll on us. The pandemic years have made people move towards isolation, distancing, caution, exhaustion, losses, and more.

Limited social interactions and worry surrounding COVID-19, its variations, and the aftereffects have created massive gaps in how we cope with new changes and altered our natural behavior. This affected children too who were still developing their interpersonal skills. The pandemic stress robbed kids of the social and emotional learning that occurs naturally in their day-to-day lives at school or playing with friends.

Bouncing back from the pandemic is not proving to be an easy task, but guided and focused Social-Emotional Learning can help kids transition smoothly from the pandemic stress to healthy social and emotional functioning. With all the uncertainty and disruption that kids have been facing, we need to work with them to help them develop their emotions and interpersonal skills. So, let’s understand what Social & Emotional Learning is.

 

What is Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. In order to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, accomplish personal and group goals, feel and demonstrate empathy for others, build and sustain supportive relationships, and make caring decisions, all young people and adults must have SEL skills and processes.

 

Why is Social & Emotional Learning necessary?

SEL is crucial to human development as well as an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world. SEL skills help children with academic achievement as well as healthy relationships. As a student adjusts to and accepts their environment, social and emotional awareness minimizes emotional pain, leads to fewer disciplinary concerns, motivates the student to attend class, and also improves class engagement, test scores, and grades.

 

Social & Emotional Learning Examples

Respect

Empathy

Self-Motivation

Collaboration

Social Engagement

Problem Solving

Analytical Thinking

Ethical Thinking

Social & Emotional Learning Skills

The precise abilities, routines, and attitudes that fall under the category of social-emotional learning are known as social-emotional learning skills. As a starting point, many schools and tutors concentrate on the five fundamental SEL competencies based on the CASEL framework.

The 5 Fundamental Competencies 

Self-Awareness.

Understanding one’s own feelings, beliefs, and values as well as how they affect our behavior in various settings is known as self-awareness. Self awareness is linked with not just how we view ourselves, but also with how others view us (i.e. their feedback). Hence, by learning from both- introspection and feedback, we can move forward with more confidence, emerge as better friends, and leaders. Another important aspect of self-awareness is the recognition that we need to focus on both – the WHY and the WHAT. Hence, learning about ‘what can help me feel more confident’ is as important as understanding  ‘why I feel anxious in certain situations’. 

 

Self-Management.

Self-management is the capacity to effectively control one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a variety of contexts in order to realize objectives and desires. It includes the ability to manage own impulses and emotions, as well as the ability to set goals and move towards them in a disciplined manner. 

Self management, however, is a skill and a process that is acquired gradually. Observing others, especially adults, plays a significant role for child when it comes to managing own emptions and reactions to diverse situations. Learning assertiveness skills is an important part of communicating while dealing with own thoughts and behaviors.  

 

Social Awareness.

Understanding and empathizing with others’ perspectives, including those from various backgrounds, cultures, and contexts, is referred to as social awareness. It helps us adapt to different environments and people. 

As a gradual & nuanced skill, social awareness develops not just in childhood but continues being acquired by us throughout our lives. Becoming socially aware includes: understanding where are how we are located in our communities and this world; how norms apply to us; which norms harm and exclude people; how to practice inclusion; how to be a contributing member of a society; what are the root causes of diverse problems that people face around us as well as people across the world; and so on. 

Social awareness is an important part of creating a just and an equitable society. It also helps everyone, including children, find a sense of purpose in this world. 

 

Relationship Skills.

Establishing and maintaining positive, supportive connections as well as interacting successfully in social contexts with a variety of people and groups are all examples of relationship skills.  Relationship skills involve a combination of several skills. These include: listening, assertive communication, and empathy. Nurturing healthy relationships skills and perspectives is also a great way to combat bullying and gender based violence in relationships. While children do learn a lot from observation, it is important to also teach these skills and keep the channels open for communication on topics related to relationships. 

 

Responsible Decision-Making.

The capacity to make thoughtful, positive decisions regarding one’s actions and interactions with others in a variety of contexts is known as responsible decision-making. As a process, it includes the ability to view impact of a decision on self as well as others around us , considering safety and ethics, and having the ability to manage the consequences that arise from our decisions. The objective is not just to avoid negative consequences. Instead, it is more about living justly in our families and societies while creating positive impact on our world through big and small decisions. 

 

Conclusion

As kids return to in-person learning and are participating in more social interactions, they’ll need to relearn social and emotional skills for healthy development. They will need support to deal with the stresses of the pandemic and to cope with their emotions in a healthy and rational manner. 

Social and Emotional Learning activities are not the replacement for professional mental health care; however, this is the smoothest way to transition our kids through the massive changes caused in the last 3 years.

About Ginny’s Planet:

Ginny’s Planet is a social enterprise Co-founded by Dr. Shweta Verma in 2019. The brand runs on the core value of helping our teachers and parents to teach their children to become independent, smart, and better leaders by equipping them with a deep understanding of empathy, diversity, disability, and inclusion. Dr. Shweta and the team design events, workshops, and products to help guardians & schools to develop kids’ mindsets and evolve as adaptive and flexible human beings. They work with schools to organize workshops for children and teachers. EMAIL: contact@ginnysplanet.com

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