As schools began the transition back to distance learning, more and more parents are noticing a disturbing trend in children developing their social emotional skills while distance learning. It’s something educators, administrators and others have noted that children entering all grades during the this recent stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic have been challenged in their social- emotional development. Social-emotional learning enables children to form and maintain healthy relationships with others, work collaboratively to solve problems, and regulate their behavior and emotions.
Some of the issues that is commonly seen among children and teens are; anxiety, depression, disturbances in sleep and appetite as well as impairment in social interactions are the most common symptoms you may find occurring in children and teens. Even the youngest of children are not immune to the affects of the type of isolation the pandemic has placed upon us not just here in the US, but worldwide as well.
What’s important for us to remember is what’s important about this. Children with strong SEL development are able to focus on lessons and work better with peers and their teachers as they are learning. They also develop in these areas:
- Self awareness: identifying emotions, recognizing strengths, self-confidence
- Self-management: impulse control, organization, stress management, listening, focusing
- Social awareness: putting yourself in others’ shoes, showing empathy, respect
- Relationship skills: communication, teamwork, social engagement
- Responsible decision making: ethical responsibility, solving problems, reflecting
So those are the skills we as parents will want to help develop in our children as they navigate this new normal of distance learning. It goes without saying at this point – that much of what we learned last year – we’ll be putting in-depth practice on this year. We’re all scrambling for answers, and we may just have the ones you and your family need.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” by Stephen R. Covey is a wonderful book I think every family should have on their shelf, not only should you get it; but study and implement as much of it as you can. And to help you, as well as get the most of this. We’ll be doing a self paced study and invite you sign up here!
Building Family Habits for Resilient Children.
So let’s go over the essential family habits that help us build both resilient children and families. None of these go in any specific order, start where you feel you and your family are currently. The rest of this post is going to require you to read some of the book and get familiar with its theme. So don’t forget to pick your copy so you can follow along! 🥰 Here are the 7 habits we’ll be dealing with in upcoming posts on this book in relation to the topic.
Habit 1. Being Proactive.
Habit 2. Beginning with the end in mind
Habit 3. Put first things first.
Habit 4. “Think Win -Win”
Habit 5. Seek first to understand… then to be understood.
Habit 6. Synergize
Habit 7. Sharpen the saw.
So the first habit will be the focus of the rest of this post. Being Proactive requires that you get to truly know your family, what are their likes, dislikes, dreams and ambitions, but most importantly; establishing your family’s manifesto, guiding principles, or mission statement (if you haven’t already). And to help you, we’ve created this wonderful free booklet to use during family meetings.
Why this book matters?
I won’t go into much detail on what’s in the book, but from what we gathered as a family on this first and foundational habit; was taking a closer look at our four unique human gifts, self-awareness, conscience, imagination and independent will. They all lie in between what happens to us and our response to the various stimuli that happens to us on any given day. They are gifts that animals lack, they react and interact with the world around them on a completely natural instinct and training. There is also a fifth human gift that we often overlook even though it makes life so much sweeter… a sense of humor. It is out of helping us further understand these human gifts within the context of the family that Mr. Covey gives us a deeper look at the first habit of ‘Being Proactive’.
So how is this first habit actually implemented and taught in our families, how do we go from where we are currently too developing this; strengthening it within ourselves and the rest of our family. It first starts with love; not the feeling, but rather the verb. We are taught to think of love as a feeling solely, which ultimately leads us to believe that relationships are disposable, and marriage and family are matter of contract and convenience rather than commitment and integrity. Furthermore how does this relate to giving our children a better social emotional outcome?
It’s no secret that today’s family has become increasingly distant over the past decades. We’ve gone from family dinners together, where the family congregated and enjoyed the company of each other to every man for himself style dinners. Even watching a good movie together has transformed into an individualistic pastime with almost every member having a digital device in their own space separate from their other family members. What COVID- 19 has opened our eyes up to is how very little time family members spend with each other. Loving the people so close to you isn’t an automatic thing, it’s a conscious active, growing verb. That requires effort from all involved, an effort that requires a person to look at what’s truly important in life, and giving the conscious effort of love. It’s through this first habit (along with the others), that families can develop a stronger foundation where they become more resilient to the challenges this new normal has produced for all of us.
How does this help children develop better social emotional skills
So you may be wondering, how can I pass this all along to my children to better develop their social emotional skills during a time when contact with their community, school and friends is limited? While there isn’t much we can do about the changes that COVID-19 has brought to society as a whole, we can build our families to be more resilient to the negative affects these challenges bring with it. These habits as we begin diving into more of them help to strengthen the family foundation, and when you strengthen the family foundation, the children within those families began developing the skills to become more resilient.
Hey Writing Elite families! We hope you found this post helpful! We don’t have to end the conversation here though! Go ahead and chime in in the comments section. For those of you following along with the discussion booklet, what did you think of it? What are some ways we can improve on it?