With summer break approaching, I would like to pass on some ideas to keep your kids engaged with social emotional learning. The summer can feel like a long time for kids, so why not incorporate some fresh ideas while promoting the emotional intelligence of your child.
1) Go to the library. There are so many books on social emotional topics such as identifying emotions, coping with feelings, problem solving peer conflict, bullying, self-esteem and so on. If we keep our kids interested in stories that promote social and emotional growth, they will experience even more success in the fall when school starts again. Some of my favorites are: The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz, When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really Really Angry by Molly Bang, and Hands are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi. Check out the Arlington Heights Library for chapter books on social emotional topics for the older grades.
3) Get your kids involved. There are so many programs in the area you can look into for a variety of structured and social activities your child can participate in. Day camps, sports, art classes, dance, music etc can really motivate your child and help them cultivate their talents/explore new things.
4) ...But don't involve them too much. I realize this is contradictory, but it is important to maintain a balance. Kids need to be kids - which means they have to learn how to entertain themselves when they are bored. Down time is essential for brain and body growth.
5) Countdown to school. When August hits, prepare your child with how many weeks/days they have until school begins again by using a calendar. Talk with them about their favorite things about school and what friends they will see. When they are excited, they may be less nervous when the first day comes.