The 6 Stages of SEL
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) can (thankfully) be broken down into 6 stages. These stages outline the core principles that make up how your child responds to the world around them. This is because our emotions are a direct response to what happens to us in life, and how we socialize with others is a direct reflection of our inner perspectives.
The 6 stages of SEL:
To be self-aware is to be conscious of yourself. On a day to day basis, that means being conscious of what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and what behavioral patterns you’re continuously acting on each day. Believe it or not - this is hard to do! It’s a skill you grow, and it takes practice. That’s why teaching a child this skill when they’re young is incredibly beneficial. Recognizing their thoughts and feelings will impact behavior and encourage them to make better decisions and take positive actions. This helps guide them through other stages like Self-Management and Responsible Decision Making. It also helps them build healthy relationships, because being self-aware forces you to have a relationship with yourself. And guess what - you can’t nurture self-love or build self-esteem without being in a relationship with you!
The key to self-awareness is honesty! Being honest with yourself allows you to recognize your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Start by teaching your child the importance of self-awareness by teaching your child the value of truth. Lies, including lying to yourself, leads to deception and illusion. This can lead to hurting yourself or others.
Once your child understands the importance, it’s easier for them to learn how to actually be self-aware. Start with the basics of helping them tune into their own bodies. The simple practices of connecting with the 5 senses through touch, sight, smell, sound and taste has become harder for kids as they plug more into technology. With Loomini, we offer fun, DIY sensory crafts so your child can enjoy connecting with themselves and their environment! Our box includes crafts to help your child connect through breathwork, nurture a positive belief system with affirmations and more. Learn more here.
Once your child is aware of how they think and feel, they can begin the process of self-management. That is regulating, controlling and shifting their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. These skills can work wonders in improving stress management, organizational skills, goal setting, breaking bad habits and self-discipline. Of course, this stage will ultimately help guide your child through other stages like Responsible Decision-Making and Future Self. It also helps them maintain healthy relationships by understanding how to work through difficult situations and feelings brought on by interactions with others.
How to Teach Self-Management
The key to teaching self-management is understanding. Because recognizing how your feel is one thing, but understanding why will allow your child to act accordingly and self-manage. Tools to help identify emotions and understand their origin can help your child use personal resources to shift their thought and tap into higher frequency emotions.
Understanding that we have control over how we react and respond to situations, we all have these resources to manage our thoughts, actions, feelings (anger, fear, worry, jealousy, loneliness, anxiety and others).
As a result, self-management helps children address impulse control. As they become adults, skills in impulse control will transfer over to how they spend and prioritize their time, energy, money, possessions and talents. They will feel more confident and secure in themselves in these areas. With Loomini, we offer fun, DIY crafts called “Emotion Identifiers” and “Energy Shifters” to help your child grow their self-management skills in a fun, creative way they can actually enjoy doing! Learn more here.
3. Social Awareness
Social awareness is about improving skills like your ability to empathize with others, your ability to take the perspective of those in different situations to you, your awareness of other diverse individuals and groups, and your ability to make sure you are treating others with respect.
This can help you to establish and maintain healthy relationships and social interactions, and therefore have a positive impact on your family, school and community, especially when undertaking social-emotional learning within these groups.
With regards to equity and diversity, greater social awareness can assist your ability to understand the perspective of and empathize with other individuals, particularly surrounding characteristics like gender, race, religion, age, culture, class and financial circumstances, and will ensure that your ability to make decisions in social settings like school takes diversity into account.
How to Teach Social Awareness
The key to teaching social awareness is understanding how to relate to others. Positive interactions are based on competencies that are promoted by SEL, like empathy, respect, kindness, listening actively, cooperation and fairness. And don’t forget the golden rule, to “treat others the way you would like to be treated.”
4. Responsible Decision Making
Responsible decision making is the ability required to make positive and constructive choices based on individual and social factors like personal goals, ethical standards, safety concerns and social norms. It requires you to consider the consequences of different potential actions, understand your strengths and limitations, and to know when to ask for more help when needed in making important decisions.
Every choice you make in life impacts your future in ways big and small. Not to be dramatic, but this skill can sometimes be the make or break in determining what kind of path your child goes down in the future. Or….it can at least help in deciding what’s for dinner. At least that’s always a debate in our house!
How to Teach Responsible Decision Making
The key to teaching responsible decision making is making positive decisions. Problem solving skills go a long way in teaching your child how to quickly analyze a situation and use their logical brain to make quick decisions supported in practicality. By pairing these skills with the emotional skills from the previous stages, they can take emotional factors into account as well to make an overall balanced decision. Loomini offers a multitude of problem solving crafts including fun puzzles and interactive games to sharpen your child’s quick wit! Learn more here.
5. Relationship SkillsRelationship skills concer your ability to make positive connections with others, as well as your ability to take their emotions into account in different situations and social interactions, in order to establish and maintain healthy, mutually rewarding relationships.
This also includes skills like listening well, communicating effectively, understanding appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors, your ability to compromise, your ability to consider the emotions, thoughts and values of others, and your ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others.
As well as in personal situations with family and friends, relationship skills are important at school with peers and teachers, and in professional areas with colleagues and bosses. If you have the ability to make positive relationships with those you learn and work with, you are contributing to a more positive school or work environment.
How to Teach Relationship Skills
The key to teaching relationship skills is treating others how you'd like to be treated. The focus should be on the other person, instead of yourself, and how to treat them positively. When that happens, relationships will work better.
Scenario play can teach how to resolve conflicts by looking at some main ways they like to be treated and asking them if they are treating the others involved in the conflict that way i.e., are you being respectful to others, empathetic, kind, cooperative, fair and listening actively? If they find they are not, they try to correct it.
6. Future SelfPart of social emotional learning is helping children to actually define their future selves. What kind of people do they want to be? What kind of lives do they wish to live? Recognizing that they have control over these aspects of their lives is a core concept of social emotional learning. This sense of agency and control is crucial if we want them to reach their full potential.
How to Teach Future Selves
Encouraging our children to dream big and aim high is only half of the equation. Beyond the professional success, celebrity status or beautiful houses they (or you!) might wish for now, we encourage our children to also ask themselves…
What do I want my future to look like in terms of my personal goals?
What changes do I want to see in the world?
What does my home feel like?
What are my relationships like?
What causes and movements matter to me?
What are your thoughts on SEL? Do you think it’s important for schools to incorporate SEL in the way they teach our children? Let us know in the comments below!