Social-emotional learning helps children acquire the capacity to understand, experience, express, and manage their emotions in a healthy way. Developing key social-emotional skills provides a firm foundation of emotional intelligence for students to build upon, setting them up for success in school and life. How can you as a parent help your child grow into a kindhearted, sociable, and responsible person? Here are 5 at-home activities to develop emotional intelligence, appropriate for students of all ages!

#1: Gratitude Journal

Journaling gratitude is a simple way to strengthen the social-emotional skill of self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to understand our emotions and their impact on our performance and others (Goleman, 1995). Starting a journal gives children the space to reflect on their emotions daily and recognize positive aspects of their lives. Additionally, Journaling gratitude has many proven benefits for adults. Consider starting your own to model it for your children and help guide them as needed with prompts. 

#2: Give Back

The social-emotional skill of social awareness concerns our ability to empathize, understand others’ emotions, and use this to better relate to them (Goleman, 1995). One of the best ways for your child to increase empathy and broaden their perspective is to give back to the community. If safe to do so, set up times with your child to volunteer at homeless shelters, retirement homes, or non-profit organizations. This act of service allows them to feel compassion, strengthening their ability to relate to others. Furthermore, they will also be a blessing to someone else’s life.

#3: Goal Setting

Setting goals is a common practice for students at school but is also valuable when implemented at home. Goal setting helps children with the social-emotional skill of self-management: the ability to think before they act and manage their emotions. Having your children set specific goals gives them a sense of autonomy, allowing them the opportunity to self-manage. It is easy for children to feel overwhelmed when striving for a challenging goal or tackling a new task. Moreover, setting goals helps establish a plan of action, so they can better regulate their emotions when feeling stressed or upset. 

#4: Quality Conversation

Relationship skills are vital for children to acquire. Family time is a great place to implement and practice these in a low-stress situation. Engage in meaningful conversations by asking your child fun and thought-provoking questions and truly be present when talking to them. Model eye contact, active listening, and respect for one another’s opinion. The more they engage in respectful conversation at home, the better they will be at conversing with other kids and adults in a way that builds relationships. 

#5: Problem Solving Activities

Responsible decision-making is the final social-emotional skill to work on developing with your child. A fun way to practice this skill is through problem-solving activities such as puzzles, strategy games, riddles, or DIY crafts. Engaging in these games and activities provides your child the opportunity to think creatively, consider various solutions, and choose a desired course of action. In addition, this actively strengthens their ability to make decisions that lead to desirable outcomes. If they get stuck or overwhelmed, be there to help them so they know they are in a safe space to handle negative emotions. 

Social-emotional learning helps children better express feelings, make friends, and handle conflict. As a parent, the best thing you can do to support your child’s emotional intelligence is to model the behavior you seek. Additionally, Schola can help you find the right school for your child that supports their social-emotional learning. Learn more by visiting our website and viewing our other parent resources.