Why is socio-emotional learning a crucial part of education and how can we foster it with our children?

by Gaëlle Piernikarch

Social and emotional skills are essential for kids to develop and navigate through life. But what exactly are these skills about?

Social-emotional skills are at the basis of all human interactions: They are our key to connect with others. As a matter of fact, this is the skillset that will help us understand our feelings and effectively manage our emotions, experience empathy and build healthy relationships.

Social-emotional skills are fundamental for children to learn and think differently, and also to talk about their challenges and to build self-esteem.

Through socio-emotional learning, kids will be able to:
✔️Make friends and keep friendships.
✔️Manage stress and anxiety.
✔️Resist negative social pressure.
✔️Set goals and make appropriate decisions.
✔️Learn strengths and weaknesses, building upon the first, overcoming the second.

In addition, socio-emotional learning supports all further interpersonal skill-building later in life, such as working in teams and resolving conflicts. In adulthood, people with strong social-emotional skills are found to be better able to deal with with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially.

Children are the future and we must raise their awareness on the skills that will help them cope with the complex world around them, face uncertainties and turn them into challenges they will be able to overcome. But how can we increase our children’s emotional and social skills?

As children these skills help to understand and manage feelings and emotions, and understand how to relate to others. But understanding what socio-emotional learning is doesn’t mean we know how to build this competence and train our children on it. Sometimes we lack directions on how to teach and support our little ones with those skills.

Experts find that school systems, social institutions and family education all play an important role in socio-emotional learning. One thing is certain: it cannot be left to chance or family circumstances.

We never say it enough: children are our future, and they thrive when they are given the tools to develop their critical social and emotional skills.

Here are 8 tips to support Social–Emotional development in early childhood:

➛ Be a model of the emotions and behaviours you want your child to show.
➛ Show while telling.
➛ Use powerful words.
➛ Ask open-ended questions to help develop problem-solving skills.
➛ Listen actively and empathetically.
➛ Support your children in identifying and expressing their feelings with words.
➛ Help children understand the consequences of behavior.
➛ Encourage kids to try new things and learn how much they can do.

There are certainly many other ways, and it’s up to us, parents, teachers, educators and anyone else who is a role model for the children to be aware of our influence and use it to help them grow.

What is your experience? What would you recommend?


Gaëlle Piernikarch
Gaëlle Piernikarch
Founder & CEO
How emotionally intelligent are you?