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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Williams

Summer SEL Tips

Caregivers, the new school year is vastly approaching. If your child did not attend Pre-K last year, there are some things you can do at home to prepare your little one to have a successful school year. In addition to reading books to your child daily and working on phonological awareness skills such as rhyming words, syllables, and blending letter sounds, please do not forget to help your child build healthy social and emotional skills.

You see, the truth of the matter is that children are more successful in school once they have the tools and skills they need to manage their emotions and get along with both adults and other children. The earlier students learn these skills, the better. This is why Pre-K educators continually give their students the tools to self-regulate when they are upset.

I would like to suggest that you have discussions with your child about her feelings. Your little one needs to understand that it is ok to be angry, sad, embarrassed, or shy at times. While it is natural to have such feelings, we need to know how to express our feelings in healthy ways. Most children understand that hitting, yelling, and throwing tantrums are not the best ways to show anger. However, they may not have the necessary tools to deal with frustrations, disappointments, sadness, and the like. Appropriate responses include asking an adult for help when someone takes his toys or taking deep breathes while counting to 10 when she cannot have her way.

When Pre-K students feel the emotions below, the provided strategies will help with regulation and working well with others at school.

Sad—Talk to a teacher or trusted family members (i.e., parents, aunts, cousins, grandparents). Do something they like, such as drawing pictures, thinking happy thoughts, remembering favorite memories, and making happy wishes.

Embarrassed/Shy—Repeat affirmations. Talk to a teacher or trusted family members. Remind themselves that no matter what, they are going to be alright.

Disappointments—Self regulate and think of how one could make of most of the situation. For example, if a child does not get what she wants for her birthday, she could choose to be happy with what she did receive. She may decide to save some birthday money to buy the wanted item herself eventually.

Bored- Give students a pipe cleaner to twirl and “play” quietly around their fingers. They can also draw, read, or help someone do a chore.

Furthermore, it would be helpful to prepare your child by helping her develop social skills such as being a friend and sharing with others.

If your child has siblings, she knows the foundations of how to get along with peers. However, if your child does not have siblings, you can talk to him about taking turns with toys and having conversations with other children.

Caregivers, I know that there is a lot to think about when preparing your child for kindergarten. My advice is to make sure your child is ready socially and emotionally by giving tools to help him channel his emotions and get along with others. Once he masters social and emotional skills, he will be able to focus more on his academics.

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