SEL in Action at Home

January 2021 - Reflection

If you had to describe 2020 in six words, what might they be? Perhaps "2020 is done! Welcome to 2021!", or "hanging out with my family changed". How about "despite it all, we made it"? These are actual responses to a similar question posted by Six-Word Memoir. Our six words? Notice every single act of kindness.

As we begin a new year, we'd like to share resources and information about the habit of reflection. Self-Reflection, or the ability to understand, think, and talk about yourself as a person and as a learner, and involves being willing to ask questions and be flexible in your approaches to life and learning. Reflection strengthens our social and emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making skills). Self-reflection is an ongoing process that contributes to life-long development and growth.

In this edition of SEL In Action at Home, we learn different reflective strategies like Rose, Thorn, and Bud and One-Minute Reflection - a mindfulness reflection activity. We also introduce families to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how reflecting on our own childhood informs our parenting. Additionally, we have included journaling prompts to promote self-reflection and self-discovery for children and parents/caregivers, as well as other helpful articles and videos.

All the best in 2021!

SEL FAMILY DISCUSSION SERIES: Session 3 - Gratitude, Jan. 13, 4:30-5:30 PM

As part of the SEL Dallas partnership, join Dallas ISD’s SEL Department for a series of 1-hour family-focused virtual sessions to learn about social and emotional learning (SEL) and important SEL skills. Parents and caregivers are welcome to join any session or the entire series. Click here for the session schedule and register below to secure your registration in the series. (Upcoming: Session 4: Parent-Teacher Conversations, February 17th)


The ability to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.

Such as:

• Demonstrating curiosity and open-mindedness

• Identifying solutions for personal and social problems

• Learning to make a reasoned judgment after analyzing information, data, facts

• Anticipating and evaluating the consequences of one’s actions

• Recognizing how critical thinking skills are useful both inside & outside of school

Reflecting on one’s role to promote personal, family, and community well-being

• Evaluating personal, interpersonal, community, and institutional impacts

Big picture

A Reflection Moment: Rose, Thorn, and Bud

The rose, thorn, and bud check-in is a quick strategy for building community and developing student voice in the classroom. While this strategy is applied in the classroom, it is also a great way to incorporate moments of reflection for your entire family to participate in. Some families may opt for this conversation starter during a meal, and some may incorporate it as a bedtime routine, or perhaps during a car trip.

Simply take turns and ask each person to share their:

  • rose (the best/most special part of their day)
  • thorn (the most difficult part of their day)
  • bud (something they are looking forward to, something they hope for, or an idea they are excited about)

"Research has shown the benefits of practicing gratitude, naming life challenges, and the value of looking forward to something. Giving thanks can make you happier. Naming negative emotions is one way to make them more manageable. Looking forward to an event can bring happiness especially in the time leading up to it." (

Questions for parents/caregivers to discuss with their children:

  1. Were any of these (rose, thorn, bud) easier or more difficult to identify than others?
  2. Did anything surprise you as you considered what your rose, thorn, and bud were?
  3. How can we best support each other’s highs, lows/challenges, and goals?
  4. What are some ways you practice mindfulness?
Personal and Parental Reflections on Adverse Childhood Experiences

Personal and Parental Reflection on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Dr. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of Childhood Disrupted - How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal, notes that "the best thing we can do for the children we care for is to manage our own stuff. Adults who've resolved their own trauma, help kids feel safe." This brief video introduces parents and caregivers to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), childhood trauma, and long-term health outcomes by reflecting on their own childhood experiences which then informs parenting.

Want to learn more? Visit the following resources:

The Kids' Books That Helped 2020 Go By - And A Few To Look Forward To (NPR)

NPR's list of books, and a few read-aloud versions. (Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina and Sonia Sanchez, Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James, and In a Jar by Deborah Marcero)

Mindfulness Break: One-Minute Reflection

Teaching kids to be reflective is an important skill to enables them to learn from mistakes. One way to teach kids how to be self-reflective is to provide “non-judgmental and non-emotional” feedback and solutions.

  1. When arriving from school, (or work) take a moment to pause and reflect on the day.
  2. Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor.
  3. Were there things you did today that you are proud of? Let them soak in for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Feel good about your accomplishments.
  5. Were there things you felt you could have done better or differently? It’s okay to make mistakes or missteps.
  6. Tomorrow, with a fresh mind and even breathing, you can try again.

Click here for a free printable version of this activity and similar activities from Pure Edge, Inc.

SEL Family Engagement 2020 Highlights

SMART RESTART Virtual Conference- Cultivating Social Emotional Wellness (22 min.)

AARP TX - Helping HS Grandkids Distance Learn. (Article and Facebook Live - 14 min)
E3: Virtual Fam Jam - Self-Care is Not Selfish (Facebook Live - @ 1:13 marker)

Social and Emotional Learning Resources for Families - Dallas ISD (Facebook - 5 min.)

Parent Information Session - SEL Skills at Home - Dallas ISD Parents (Podcast 18 min.)



Self-Reflection Activities for Kids (The OT Toolbox)

A Return to Joy for the Holidays (YogaEd)

Mindful Parenting (Child Mind Institute)

Energy Check-In (Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience)


Parental Self-Reflection with Dr. Nicola Dugmore (Baby and Child Care - 6 min)

Feeling Lots of...Feelings? Journaling Can Help (NPR - 12 min.)

The Social and Emotional Learning department is interested in your feedback as we develop an SEL discussion series for parents and caregivers. The series will help families become more familiar with SEL and actively engage in personal growth and supporting children's SEL practices. Each session will be approximately 45-60 minutes in length and will be presented virtually. Click the button above to participate in this quick survey. Thank you!

Share your story!

Did you try one of these Social and Emotional Learning strategies at home? Send us your story, picture, or video!