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Have you taught your child the importance of social-emotional learning? If not, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s certainly something you will want your children to know and understand. In fact, if you’ve never heard of this before, you may want to know what it is, why you should teach it to your child, and how it can benefit you and your loved ones over the years. The truth is that social-emotional learning can have such a positive impact on your children, but it can also positively affect your relationship with everyone around you.

Related: 5 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids {FREE Printables}

To help better understand Social Emotional Learning, and how to incorporate it into our child’s daily lives, I spoke with Emotional Intelligence expert and author, Nadine Levitt. She’s the expert behind emotional learning tools like the Emotional Wonderland quiz, and other SEL products on My Mama Says.

Inside Me Lives a Village Book and Sad Pup Plush

What Is Social-Emotional Learning?

Social-emotional learning, also known as SEL, is a process that involves becoming more self-aware than ever before. It involves mastering the art of self-control, which children need to have when they’re in public spaces such as school. However, it’s not just for children. It’s a tool that people can use in their teenage and adult years. Not only does it play a significant role in helping people adjust to situations when dealing with other people in a school environment, but it also comes in handy when involved in activities or even at work. While social-emotional learning is something you want to teach your children, it’s also a learning method you should know because you can benefit from it.

Why Is Social-Emotional Learning Becoming Increasingly Common?

Over the past several years, awareness of social-emotional learning has been at an all-time high. According to Nadine, more people are recognizing the value of it and how these skills are fundamental in having a happy, fulfilling, and truly successful life. Unfortunately, those who aren’t self-aware and lack self-control often struggle in life, especially when surrounded by others. It makes their interactions with other people difficult when it doesn’t have to be that way.

When people want to build healthy, happy relationships with those around them, whether it’s their family, friends, or even their peers, it’s necessary to know how to identify and regulate our emotions. When we fail to do so, it’s hard to have healthy relationships. It becomes a challenge to collaborate with those around us, even if it’s a requirement because of school or work. If you want your children to excel and work well with others as valued team players, it’s essential to teach them social-emotional learning.

In recent years, more people are beginning to understand the impact that this method of learning has on everything they do in life, from academic achievements to making responsible decisions and building solid relationships. Children can often learn these skills when they’re at school, one of the times they’re away from home, socializing with other children their age, and away from electronics. Because let’s face it – most children are glued to electronics these days, such as gaming consoles and tablets.

SEL Happy Black Family
Source: Canva

The Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning for Children

Although you’re never too old to learn social-emotional intelligence, it’s best to begin teaching your children early. The goal is to help them function properly and regulate their emotions when surrounded by others, including a room full of their peers. And while children can learn some of these skills at school, starting at home is always best. After all, “…families are so relational, which can help teach children the importance of healthy relationships with those around them, ” says Nadine. Nadine also mentions that the five CASEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making) are extremely helpful for building positive healthy relationships between family members. In addition, it can set the tone for their relationships with other people, including their peers, while in school.

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Through social-emotional learning, children can learn more about their emotions. It’s more empowering for them to understand the feelings they’re experiencing and navigate through them instead of attempting to shield them or put them on the back burner. When children are encouraged to share their emotions and move through them correctly, they gain a greater sense of self-control, which will help them now and later in life. According to Nadine, one of the simplest ways to start teaching your children social-emotional learning is to work through their emotions with them. If they’re sad, you can say, “I understand you’re feeling disappointed right now. You have every right to feel that way. Do you know why you’re feeling sad?” This sparks a conversation between you and your child, which helps them open up and better understand their emotions.

Inside Me Lives a Village Book and Sad Pup Plush


When Is It Best to Focus on Social-Emotional Learning?

As a mom of two daughters ages 11 and 2, I asked Nadine, “When is it a good time to start focusing on social-emotional learning?” She stated that it’s best to start as early as possible. However, as parents, we need to realize that the way of teaching this method of learning will vary tremendously based on our child’s age because something an 11-year-old can understand would be something utterly foreign to a toddler. For example, using the Emotion Wonderland quiz helps take a unique approach based on the child’s age. You may scatter these cards on the ground with a toddler and work through them one at a time. However, if your child is older, you may choose to do emotion yoga cards while actually doing some of the yoga together.

SEL Mom and Daughter
Source: Canva

But there are other ways to teach social-emotional learning. You can do this with anything. For example, let’s say you’re watching a movie with your little one, and someone is crying. Look at your child and ask, “How do you think they’re feeling at this moment?” And when they tell you that the person is sad or unhappy, ask them why. It’s a great way to teach them the different emotions people experience and why they might feel those emotions at different points in their lives. The key is to put more emphasis on the emotions we as humans feel and experience throughout the day. In doing so, you can teach social-emotional learning to your children to help them become more self-aware and have better self-control when in social environments with others.

Related: Printable Affirmation Cards for Kids to Build Self-Esteem

Social Emotional Learning The Big Box of Feelings

Start Your SEL Journey

Start with the Emotion Wonderland quiz if you’d like to teach your children the value of social-emotional learning and help them reap the benefits of being more in tune with their emotions. It’s the perfect way to introduce this form of learning to children in a judgment-free zone where children can feel empowered. I took the quiz for myself and did it with my 11-year-old. We both learned a lot about ourselves. For my toddler, we read the My Mama Says: Inside Me Lives a Village paperback along with the sad sullen puppy stuffie. All of these are available for purchase on Amazon or My Mama Says.


social-emotional learning can have such a positive impact on your children, but it can also positively affect your relationship with everyone around you.