Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs are designed to bring out the very best in our children. They focus on components of emotion management, social awareness and increased self-management in various situations. What this is also seeking to inspire is a call to lead in situations of uncertainty and to guide others through similar processes. SEL programs are incredibly effective at bolstering self-confidence in leadership and active student citizens. This is done in several ways throughout many different academic settings, but this article is to focus on how to implement it in everyday life.
Most children won’t actively seek out opportunities to become the leaders you may be seeking to create. Sometimes the right encouraging word can spark motivation and initiative to get them moving in on something their passionate about! Pushing them out of their comfort zone is important but ease them into it by facilitating a supportive and encouraging environment. Using support words by focusing on effort and investment. Such as “ I’m really excited with how you accomplished X & Y! There’s some room for Z, but I know you’ll get it.” in this phrase, praising the child for what the accomplished and offering them encouraging words on what they need to improve is proving a stepping stone for progression.
Hand in hand with encouragement is an opportunity. Frequently in school systems, there is a one size fits all approach to the implementation of leadership and responsible decision making. Teachers innovation along with coaches and extracurricular leaders have found amazing ways to influence and stimulate students in various situations. In many ways, the best thing to do is communicate with the leaders in your child’s life to see how you can best serve their talents and provide an opportunity for them to flourish. Speak to your child, to see what their interest is and how you may best support their goals.
Often there can be a limiting or restrictive line placed on children as far as where their direction and interests lie. It’s easy to apply our interests and hobbies and seek to also enjoy those with our children. There’s nothing wrong with that in the slightest, but dont force your interests on them in a way that they’re inhibited to go in the direction their being called. For example, sports are great and have lots of health benefits, but they may be drawn to the sciences or an art form like ballet or drawing. In those moments the best way to promote their growth is to allow some self-determination while also guiding them through their interests and assisting in the navigation of new passions.
Reflecting on their interests can be collaborative and personally enriching. Sometimes it is as simple as sitting down and talking to them, “how did you feel about the soccer game?” “Did you enjoy leading’ this’?” Asking really specific, open-ended questions allows for them to elaborate and offer to invite into how they’re feeling. In addition, Sometimes a great reflection can be to have them keep a journal and talk about their experiences. Reflecting on their experiences allows them to grow and learn while offering a direction for you to go in on ways to engage them and allow them to lead in the future.