Social-Emotional Learning Activities For Kids
8 social emotional learning activities to help children practice mindfulness and self awareness to help control emotions and channel their inner calm.
What are social emotional learning activities? They are activities which children can participate in and learn how to become more aware of their emotions and practice mindfulness.
All children benefit from mindfulness exercises. These exercises can help kids become more calm and self aware of their thoughts, feelings and their surroundings. These exercises help children re center and focus on the moment they are experiencing rather than going back to the past or thinking of the future.
Mindfulness is a simple concept, but it’s not that simple to explain to children which is why there are some mindfulness activities you can try to help your child learn how to be mindful and self-aware.
Keep in mind that mindfulness canont be a skill that is mastered, It is in fact a skill that is ever evolving and improve (growth mindset)s with practice.
Here are some social-emotional learning activities for kids to help with mindfulness and self-awareness.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Want to learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control?
–>check out this free parenting class<–
Social Emotional Learning Activities For Kids
When your child is acting whiny or is having a hard day, try some of these social emotional learning activities. You can try some when they are in their moment of frustration, or after they have become more calm, whatever works best for your child. I know for one of my kids, I cannot do anything with him until he calms down.
Practicing breathing exercises is a great way to get centered and connected for kids. If your child is having a hyper moment, an angry moment or is frustrated with something, simple breathing techniques can be your saviour.
Positive affirmations can help children with self-confidence and self-esteem. Build them up daily by practicing positive affirmations. Affirmations are a social emotional learning activity for kids because they help children feel uplifted and more self-aware. Plus it’s never a bad thing to fill your emotional cup with self kindness.
Check out these positive affirmations for kids for some ideas.
If your child is feeling angry, or going through a tantrum, 5-4-3-2-1 technique is really helpful in re centering children and helping them find their mindfulness.
How it works: Simply tell your child to stop what they are doing and list 5 things that they can see, 4 things that they could touch, 3 things that they can hear, 2 things that they can smell and one thing they can taste.
This is a good distraction activity for them because by the time they finish listing all the things, they become more calm and self-aware of their emotions.
Yoga for kids is very effective, and healthy too. If you can do daily yoga with your child, that is amazing. If you can’t get daily yoga in, that’s ok. You can still practice yoga poses such as tree, warrior and half moon. Youtube is a great resource for yoga videos for kids.
Colouring is a great way to learn social-emotional mindfulness. You can either print out single colouring pages from the internet or find some cute coloring books on Amazon. Encourage children to color on their own, especially if you are utilizing quiet time or calm down corners in your home. Let your child know that if they have made a mistake, they can breathe in and out and move on. The mindfulness is about letting the experience pass by without engaging negatively about it.
I love nature. It has a very restorative calm effect on me personally and it’s a great way for children to practice their own mindfulness. Taking a small ten minute walk in fresh air can help a child switch from anger to calmness just through being outside and taking in the sights. Pick up the pinecones and sticks, jump in the puddles, create the memories and truly enjoy being outside in the nature.
Another social emotional learning activity is guided meditation. Have your child find a spot on the rug and have them lie down. Ask them to close their eyes and breathe in and out slowly. Read some guided mediation sayings while having them visualize being on a beach or walking through a forest. You can make up your own guided meditation cards or find some online. You’ll have relaxed and calm kids in a manner of minutes with this technique.
You can get guided meditations through audible, and you can try audible for free using this link.
Arts and Crafts
Crafts can be very calming and mindful because they need concentration and imagination. You can try weaving, beading, popsicle stick crafts, pom pom crafts. Get super creative. I love to find craft ideas on Pinterest! Crafts can help children gain self-confidence too if they are proud of their craft when it is all finished.
Mindful and Social-Emotional Learning Activities For Kids
Are you excited to start practicing mindfulness activities with your kids?
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
- What A Child Who Is Shutting You Out Trying To Say
- How to Help Young Kids Resist Peer Pressure
- 5 Positive Attitude Activities For Kids
- Simple Breathing Exercises For Kids To Manage Anger
- Calm Down Corner Best Practices And How To Create One For Your Child
- 107 Words Of Affirmation For Kids
- How To Teach Kids Self-Regulation Skills
- 2.Perry DG, Kusel SJ, Perry LC. Victims of peer aggression. Developmental Psychology. Published online 1988:807-814. doi:10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.117
- 3.Graziano PA, Reavis RD, Keane SP, Calkins SD. The role of emotion regulation in children’s early academic success. Journal of School Psychology. Published online February 2007:3-19. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2006.09.002
- 4.Côté S, Morgan LM. A longitudinal analysis of the association between emotion regulation, job satisfaction, and intentions to quit. J Organiz Behav. Published online November 19, 2002:947-962. doi:10.1002/job.174
- 5.Thompson RA. Emotional regulation and emotional development. Educ Psychol Rev. Published online December 1991:269-307. doi:10.1007/bf01319934
- 6.Buckholdt KE, Parra GR, Jobe-Shields L. Intergenerational Transmission of Emotion Dysregulation Through Parental Invalidation of Emotions: Implications for Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors. J Child Fam Stud. Published online June 25, 2013:324-332. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9768-4
- 7.Schore AN. Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self. 1st ed. Routledge; 2015.
- 8.McLaughlin KA, Sheridan MA, Tibu F, Fox NA, Zeanah CH, Nelson CA III. Causal effects of the early caregiving environment on development of stress response systems in children. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Published online April 20, 2015:5637-5642. doi:10.1073/pnas.1423363112
- 9.Saarni C, Campos JJ, Camras LA, Witherington D. Emotional Development: Action, Communication, and Understanding. Handbook of Child Psychology. Published online June 1, 2007. doi:10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0305
- 10.Fox SE, Levitt P, Nelson III CA. How the Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Influence the Development of Brain Architecture. Child Development. Published online January 2010:28-40. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01380.x
- 11.Johnson JS, Newport EL. Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology. Published online January 1989:60-99. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(89)90003-0
- 12.boone tim, reilly anthony j., Sashkin M. SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY Albert Bandura Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977. 247 pp., paperbound. Group & Organization Studies. Published online September 1977:384-385. doi:10.1177/105960117700200317
- 13.Carrère S, Bowie BH. Like Parent, Like Child: Parent and Child Emotion Dysregulation. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. Published online June 2012:e23-e30. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2011.12.008
- 14.Parke RD. Progress, Paradigms, and Unresolved Problems: A Commentary on Recent Advances in Our Understanding of Children’s Emotions. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. 1994;40(1):157-169.
- 15.Hatfield E, Cacioppo JT, Rapson RL. Emotional Contagion. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. Published online June 1993:96-100. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.ep10770953
- 16.Farley JP, Kim-Spoon J. The development of adolescent self-regulation: Reviewing the role of parent, peer, friend, and romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence. Published online June 2014:433-440. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.03.009
- 17.Tronick EZ. Emotions and emotional communication in infants. American Psychologist. Published online 1989:112-119. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.44.2.112
- 18.Lunkenheimer ES, Shields AM, Cortina KS. Parental Emotion Coaching and Dismissing in Family Interaction. Social Development. Published online May 2007:232-248. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00382.x
- 19.Eisenberg N, Cumberland A, Spinrad T. Parental Socialization of Emotion. Psychol Inq. 1998;9(4):241-273. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16865170
- 20.Eisenberg N, Cumberland A, Spinrad T. Parental Socialization of Emotion. Psychol Inq. 1998;9(4):241-273. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli0904_1
- 21.Morris AS, Silk JS, Steinberg L, Myers SS, Robinson LR. The Role of the Family Context in the Development of Emotion Regulation. Social Development. Published online May 2007:361-388. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00389.x
- 22.Petrides KV, Sangareau Y, Furnham A, Frederickson N. Trait Emotional Intelligence and Children’s Peer Relations at School. Social Development. Published online August 2006:537-547. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2006.00355.x
- 23.Rothbart MK, Sheese BE, Rueda MR, Posner MI. Developing Mechanisms of Self-Regulation in Early Life. Emotion Review. Published online April 2011:207-213. doi:10.1177/1754073910387943
- 24.Gross JJ. The Emerging Field of Emotion Regulation: An Integrative Review. Review of General Psychology. Published online September 1998:271-299. doi:10.1037/1089-2618.104.22.1681
- 25.Harris PL. Children’s understanding of the link between situation and emotion. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Published online December 1983:490-509. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(83)90048-6
- 26.Goldin PR, McRae K, Ramel W, Gross JJ. The Neural Bases of Emotion Regulation: Reappraisal and Suppression of Negative Emotion. Biological Psychiatry. Published online March 2008:577-586. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.031
- 27.Davidson RJ, Schwartz GE. Patterns of Cerebral Lateralization During Cardiac Biofeedback versus the Self-Regulation of Emotion: Sex Differences. Psychophysiology. Published online January 1976:62-68. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.1976.tb03339.x
- 28.Feldman G, Hayes A, Kumar S, Greeson J, Laurenceau J-P. Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation: The Development and Initial Validation of the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised (CAMS-R). J Psychopathol Behav Assess. Published online November 7, 2006:177-190. doi:10.1007/s10862-006-9035-8