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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) - Empowering Children with Superior Social and Emotional Skills - Part II

By Andrew Loh

This article will give you additional tips and suggestions to help your children to initiate them to the basic concept of SEL or social emotional learning. Mastering emotional skills will help children understand and master various social skills too. Both are interdependent and mutually inclusive. In other words, good emotional skills will always lead to better social skills.

Give respect to others and start appreciating basic differences in personal opinions

Social skills are easy to learn when we interact with others. To interact with other in a harmonious manner, we should respect others and listen to their opinions even if you do not agree with them. Basic differences in personalities are always common while different people would have different opinions. You may agree or may not agree with some of them. However, to survive in this world one should give respect to others and get the same back by commanding respect.


  • Teach children how mutual respect can earn good will for them. Also, tell them that it is an issue of fair mannerism to respect others.

  • You should respect your own children before teaching the advantages of respecting others. Respect children's intellect, intelligence and mannerism. If their mannerism is not up to the expected level, tell them so and give reasons why you are disagreeing with their mannerism.

  • Tell them different benefits that your children can gain by showing respect to others.

Building positive relationship with others

Emotions and building positive relationship with others are interrelated to each other. With better emotion, a child can have a stable mind and intellect. Conversely, negative emotions may force him or her to go inside the shell and become a reclusive individual which might eventually lead to a stage of introvert. Positive relation with others, again, is a social skill that eventually arises out of emotionally balanced mind.


  • Teach children how they can build better and positive relationship with others. For example, children can make more friends in their classroom or become friendly with their neighbors. Positive relationships could be built only with an emotionally stronger person.

  • Teach them how to approach peers and neighbors with affable mannerisms. For example, you can teach them how to approach others with these simple guidelines. “Hello, How are you?”, “Can we become friends?”, “It is so nice to talk to you”, “I have a weekend party coming up this Saturday. You are welcome to join me” and “Sir; it is so nice to speak to you”.

Here are some more practical tips to help your children become stronger both in social and emotional skills:

  1. Children should be able to ask for help when they are in some problem. Interacting with others will help them learn the art of an important social skill like communication. Children, who face problem, often become intensely emotional as they do not know how to approach others to solve their problems. Asking for help is perhaps the best tool to streamline emotional and social skills.

  2. Managing emotions is an important activity for parents because many of the problems that are related to abnormal emotions could be tied down to mental problems. In case of serious emotional problem, parents may need to consult a family physician and discuss in detail about the problem.

  3. Past research studies have indicated that team games are the best tools to enhance better and positive emotions in children and for learning a series of social skills. Monopoly, card games, strategy games, role playing games, outdoor sport games and events are known to boost the spirit of team participation, development of positive emotions and empowerment of children with many social skills like better communication, coordination, cooperation and positive interaction.

  4. Confidence is the key to success. It is also a time-tested tool to develop self-image, positivity and will power to succeed. A child with these three positive characters is emotionally stringer which eventually helps them interact with the society in a confident manner.

  5. Children in distress are those who experience separation, death in the family or even disturbed childhood. Such children need plenty of counseling and help to cope with the rigors of extreme emotions. It is easy to bring them to the mainstream of living. However, they need constant attention, close supervision, love, care and affection.

  6. Keeping children stress less is an important point to remember. Unnecessary stress can put children under lots of emotional burden. You may need to assure and encourage them when they are under stress. Some of them keywords that you can use are, “I understand your problem and rest assured that I will help you”, “You are so kind and sensitive. However, you worry more than your friends at school. Do not worry, it is OK to feel that way and you will do better eventually”, “I know that you are sad now. Come on! Let us discuss about the problem, so that your anguish and worries would vanish soon”, “Feeling anxious is OK, unless you are feeling very bad about it. It is OK to be anxious. Anyways, let us discuss now to remove it completely” and “I am ready to hold your bad emotions and feeling for you”.

Featured Resource

Pathways to Competence: Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children
By Sarah Landy Ph.D

Readers will get the most up-to-date research findings on each social and emotional area; know what social-emotional milestones a child should reach at each age level; address parents' most common questions about hot topics such as challenging behavior, language development, discipline, play, and feeding and sleeping problems; get a wide range of simple, concrete strategies and principles to use with children in their care and share with caregivers to promote their children's development in each key area; guide caregivers with updated exercises and activities that sharpen their parenting skills; select and use appropriate assessment tools; understand all the major theories related to social and emotional development; test their own knowledge with updated discussion questions in each chapter.


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