By now you’ve probably heard that schools are implementing Social-Emotional curriculums. Pediatricians have been stressing social-emotional health, even more, recently too. What’s this about and how will this help my kid in life?

Well, the idea is that it’s important to try teaching kids about feelings, help instill empathy, and create a learning and home environment where kids feel safe, comfortable, and supported and where there is an overall sense of kindness, respect, and inclusion.

Academic and social pressure…bullying…substance use…suicide…

It’s a scary world for kids right now. Given that kids are increasingly dealing with academic and social pressures and bullying, substance use, and suicide continue to be on the rise, it’s no wonder schools are trying to intervene by incorporating social-emotional learning into their teaching and pediatricians are stressing more about the importance of social and emotional development.

And why not?

Children need to be able to deal with their emotions and get along with others not only to learn but to develop into healthy functioning adults.

As a society, we pay a ton of attention to promoting academics and intellect in kids. Well, social-emotional development is just as important, and now more than ever, given how stressful it is to be a kid nowadays.

Kids feel pressure to do well in school and to keep up with their friends. They’re over-scheduled and have little down time at home. This puts a lot of strain on their emotions and taxes their ability to deal with feelings. When kids get overwhelmed, it’s harder to deal with bullying, substance use becomes an attempted escape, and self harming thoughts seem like the only way out. We need our kids to be socially and emotionally healthy to combat this.

The value of strong social-emotional skills…

Socially and emotionally healthy kids can identify and appropriately express their feelings and manage behaviors. They are more attuned to the feelings of others and respond with empathy. They can better appreciate their own successes and handle disappointment. These are valuable skills. They help kids feel good about themselves and they serve as a protective factor from the stressors they face.

Strong social emotional skills also promote learning. Emotionally healthy kids have solid self esteem and perform better in school. They can focus their attention more on learning because they are less emotionally distracted. They are also better able to tolerate mistakes and use them as a learning experience instead of feeling bad and afraid to try again.

How to help…

It’s important for families to do whatever it takes to support their kids’ social and emotional development.

Schools are now trying to help with this but it starts at home with positive, connected, warm, calm, caring, patient, secure relationships.

Sometimes, though, kids and families need more. They can use some extra outside support.

We help our kids develop their athletic skills through sports.

We help our kids cultivate their creative talents through dance and music.

We get our kids tutoring with homework when they need it.

We can also help our kids develop their social and emotional skills through counseling when they could use a little extra support.

It’s a great investment NOW and for their FUTURE.