March 26, 2020

Social emotional learning tips to help parents and kids cope during stressful times

With kids at home all day, here are several tips—from educational to fun—to keep them engaged.

The Allstate Foundation empowers young people—and those that guide and teach them—with social emotional learning (SEL) opportunities to help them lead successful lives. These skills—like stress-management, communication and resiliency—are more important than ever, as kids face disruption and uncertainty in the face of the current COVID-19 situation.

Below are tips and resources from The Allstate Foundation and its partners to help kids and parents.

Make space for calm

It’s important to intentionally check-in as a family and talk about what to do when kids feel upset, angry, scared or frustrated—and how to keep emotions in check. This Zen Zone Activity Guide, part of Soar with Wings—a partnership between Wings for Kids, Discovery Education and The Allstate Foundation to strengthen SEL skills—provides a framework for families to practice self-management and responsible decision-making skills within the home.

Practice staying present

Daily mindfulness practice—the practice of paying attention to the present moment—can teach kids techniques to handle difficult emotions, such as stress, anxiety, anger and more. The Allstate Foundation works with Inner Explorer to bring audio guided mindfulness exercises to schools, focusing on key areas of development. Now, parents can download the Inner Explorer family app, and begin practicing with your children every day, starting with “Day 1” and continuing through “Day 90” and then repeat.

[Read more: The case for teaching social and emotional skills in high school]

The Allstate Foundation’s nonprofit partner, Wings for Kids, encourage kids and parents to consider R&R: reset and relax. Reset to determine what is really bothering you and relax your mind and body to try and calm down. Wings for Kids offers techniques to practice R&R here.

Build skills through stories

Literature and storytelling are great ways to introduce the concept of SEL skills to kids of all ages. Find a list of books here, grouped by age level, that can start a conversation in your family.

Make it fun

The Allstate Foundation knows that play is an integral part of developing important SEL skills that will carry kids through adulthood. The Allstate Foundation nonprofit partner, Playworks, is hosting #PlayatHome Recess live on Facebook at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. Tune in for stretching, warm-ups, interactive games, cheers, and cooldown activities. Playworks also offers a free game library, where families and educators can access ideas by age and length of time, with many fun ideas for small groups.

Stay connected

In times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to have open communication with our families and loved ones. As part of Soar with Wings, Wings for Kids, Discovery Education and The Allstate Foundation offer a Dinner Discussions guide that helps families reconnect and check-in with a series of guided questions that cultivate relationship-building and social awareness skills.

Additional resources

Below are links to more great resources for parents to help their children build SEL skills:

The Allstate Foundation