Social-emotional learning is a big component of your child’s learning experience at school. Children at GMLS learn many skills such as making eye contact when greeting someone, how to give compliments, using positive self-talk, calming breathing strategies, how to ask to play, and when to work things out themselves and when to tell an adult….plus MORE! This happens organically throughout the day as kids interact, as well as during structured social-emotional learning lessons that happen daily with the teachers and our guidance counselor.
One of the best ways for students to learn these important social-emotional skills is through real-life practice – and that often happens on the playground. Maybe your child gets called a name, doesn’t get passed the ball, or a friend rolls her eyes and walks away.
Ouch. We get it. But here’s the thing: Your child must experience (and learn from) these things now because they will encounter difficult people and social conflict throughout their lives. When your child is feeling sad, it is natural for parents to feel alarmed and want to jump in. But don’t over-react! Talk to your child about how to handle it: Let it roll off your back? Use “I” messages? Ignore? Use humor? And, very importantly, empathize with your child and then express confidence in your child’s ability to handle it.
Children who learn how to deal with normal social conflict with their peers have been shown to be happier as adults – less stressed, more optimistic, more relaxed, more confident and more socially adept. Our job is to raise healthy and happy adults who have high social and emotional intelligence. And our complicated global world needs our kids to become this more than ever!
I hope you will read this article, Is it bullying or just a playground conflict? I think that you will find it very enlightening and reassuring. It will also help you to have a better understanding of how and why we teach social-emotional skills at school and how you can support your child’s development at home.