What is social-emotional learning (SEL)? Although it may sound like bliggity-blah jargon, social-emotional learning can help you help your children (and your self) in significant ways.

There’s a great deal of overlap between social-emotional learning and mindfulness: they are both about paying attention. SEL is a process of learning life skills, including:

–> Emotional regulation
–> How to cultivate teamwork, empathy and positive relationship skills
–> Ways to handle situations that are both constructive & ethical

Of all the things children learn growing up, in today’s world should these life skills not be at the top of the list? These are also known as inter- and intra-personal skills, topics that are both coming up soon in my continuing series on Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The upside is that whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re already teaching your child social-emotional skills! But what skills are you really teaching, and what parenting style do you embody? John Gottman, PhD, author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, discovered that children who had what he called “Emotion Coaching” parents were on an entirely different developmental trajectory than the children of other parents.

“Specifically these children could regulate their own emotional states and were better at soothing themselves and “calming down” when they were upset. These children could actually slow down their hearts faster. Gottman reports that because of the superior performance in that part of their physiology that is involved in calming themselves, they had fewer infectious illnesses.  These children were better at focusing attention and related better to other people and seemed to understand them better.  They had better friendships with other children and performed better in academic situations.  These kids have developed a kind of “IQ” as it relates to people and the world of feelings, or emotional intelligence.”       To read the full article, click here.

Learning to notice your own emotional state, the emotional states of others, and constructive ways for navigating and dealing with both is a life-long practice you can only get better at. From my perspective, “Emotion Coaching” is explicitly a form of mindfulness that parents can model for children at home to great effect.

What do you think about social-emotional learning?

How are these skills taught in your home and/or school?

Share below!

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