Tips for Parents in working with their children during these challenging times

Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Home: Relationship Skills

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Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Home Self Awareness

Promoting Social and Emotional Learning at Home – ApertureEd

  • A guide focusing on social-emotional strength, with developmentally appropriate strategies for all children from infancy through high school, as well as suggestions for parents and other adult family members on promoting their own well-being.


parents tips

What Works 

-Provide children and adolescents with opportunities to share and discuss their feelings and concerns.

>Despite physical distancing, it is essential whenever possible to maintain social connections. Youngsters' friendships and social activities are important for normalizing children's and adolescents' lives and promoting good adjustment.

>Whenever possible, minimize children's and adolescents' exposure to upsetting images. K-2 should have very limited to no exposure. It is recommended that higher grade levels hear updates with a parent or caretaker present to field questions and explain content in a anxiety reducing way. Young children often cannot process all the influx of information in a realistic manner.

>Encourage children and teens to stay healthy and fit by eating well, getting regular exercise, participating in recreational and learning activities, and sleeping well.  These are proven strategies for coping with stress.

>Encourage children and adolescents to use positive strategies for coping with stressors that ensue. Parents and caring adults may also model positive coping for children. 

What Doesn't Work 

  >Avoiding discussions of distressing events. Parents and other caring adults may think that children are not bothered by events or that discussions of events will be upsetting to them; however, this may lead to missed opportunities for sharing and support.

 >Pressuring children to talk. Instead focus on  creating a positive, receptive atmosphere for talking, and encouraging  children bring issues up as they choose. In general, active coping strategies (i.e., doing something positive to help – such as writing to others about events, keeping a journal, connecting by phone or online with friends or family, volunteering to help others, making positive self-statements, doing creative projects, exercising, eating well, taking control over daily events).

More tips:

Keep Calm and Carry on:

Children will look to the adults to model how they should respond in the current pandemic. Hence  our words and actions, are powerful ways to provide this re-assurance.


 Create a routine

Structure a week for your child that replicates a school week. Set them a timetable with start and end time, with breaks in between. Map out the learning they will be doing. Factor in movement breaks. (Maybe PBIS matrix here)

Check in with kids

When kids are feeling anxious, it may or may not be clear to parents. Kids don’t just show one sign. “We should be ready to handle a variety of different expressions of anxiety.” Anxiety could look like:

Use Daily Positive Affirmations:

Repeat positive powerful affirmations 3 times aloud together with your children, for example: 

  1. “I cherish the extra time I get to spend with my family and I am excited about creating more happy, unforgettable memories. “
  2. I focus on opportunities over obstacles.


Children may have many questions. This is expected.  While its always important to let them express their thoughts and fears it is now very important during these time of uncertainty that our children feel heard, “Yes son/daughter, that’s great, I need to think about this, I’ll answer you when I’ve found out the answer.

 Be honest!

 The virus is something that is spoken about everywhere we go; it is likely your child already as an idea of what's going on and will be worried.

  • Remember you are the expert when it comes to your child - you will know if they feel like talking or not - gauge their behavior and level of understanding 
  • Your child looks to you for comfort during times when they are uncertain and distressed etc - encourage them to continue express their feelings

Caretakers- Consider your own well being

Organize for some time alone. Build this into your collaborative timetable. It could be reading, pampering or exercise. Looking after your well-being is important.

Socialize online with other parents. It makes you feel less isolated and they can give you great tips for coping.

If need help with supporting your child's learning, contact their teacher, school counselor or school psychologist.                         

Excerpts from Bianca Miller Cole Forbes Magazine

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