Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

For Our Framingham Community

Social emotional learning gives us skills to make long lasting friendships, manage stressful situations, and problem solve. Below are a few tips and activities to support these skills at home. For more information and resources, please check out the Wilson Calm Corner website.

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Morning Check-ins

Morning check-ins are a great way to add structure and preview the day. Children (and adults!) thrive when there is routine and structure built into their day. This is even more crucial during uncertain times.

Morning check-ins are also an opportunity to start your day on a positive note. Research shows that starting your day with something positive can prime your whole day for positivity.

Here are some strategies for checking-in:

  • Make it a ritual - Try to keep the time and place consistent day to day (e.g. at breakfast) so that it becomes a natural part of your family's daily routine.

  • Start with an icebreaker - Enjoy a few laughs or reflections together to get started. Examples include:

    • Say one thing you are each grateful for.

    • Tell a favorite joke.

    • Watch a funny animal video together .

    • Share something you are each looking forward to that day.

  • Feelings thermometer - Take your children's emotional "temperature" to get a sense of how they are feeling today and how much energy they have. Be sure to acknowledge and normalize their feelings. Sample questions include:

    1. What zone are you in today? (Have them teach you what the blue, green, yellow, and red zones mean first!)

    2. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being full of energy, what is your energy level today?

    3. Find a picture of a person in a book who matches the feeling you are having right now.

    4. Ask them to draw a picture of how they feel.

  • Preview your day and pre-plan for challenges - Review the family schedule or goals for the day. Ask for your child's input and give them responsibilities. Consider writing down your agreed upon schedule or making a check-list of to-do's so that your family has a visual to refer back to...and your child can have the satisfaction of crossing things off the list :)

In addition to a morning check-in, consider an evening check-in too (perhaps at dinner or before bed). This is an opportunity to reflect on how the day went, if you all were able to follow the family plan, how things could go better tomorrow, and what calming strategies you used throughout the day.

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Identify Calming Strategies

In a moment of calm, or during a morning check-in, sit down with your child and come up with a few strategies to use if anyone in the family needs a calming moment or a "brain break."

Create a list for each child and adult in your household (adults need calming breaks too!). Some ideas include:

  • Breathe

  • Go outside

  • Play with a pet

  • Call a friend

  • Do a puzzle

  • Play a board game

  • Listen to music

  • Get some water

  • Take a walk

  • Draw or color

  • Read

  • Journal

  • Yoga and mindfulness

  • Relax in calm corner or fort

  • Cook or bake

  • Arts and crafts

  • Exercise or play a sport

  • Ask for a hug

Post your family’s calming strategies somewhere around your home (e.g. refrigerator, bulletin board) as a reminder to use them in the moment. If you have little ones (or artistic ones!), decorate with visuals.

Make sure you have all the materials needed to implement the strategies ready to go (you don’t want to be building a calm space or looking for coloring books or arts and crafts materials in the moment!).

Role play what it might look like to use the strategies.

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Easy Games Ideas (Instead of Screen Time)

The Celebrity Game

One child thinks of a famous character from a book or movie. The other players must ask questions about the character, such as “Where does this character live?” or “What does this character enjoy doing?” until the players can guess the celebrity’s identity.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

The game starts with somebody thinking of an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral. The other players then must ask questions that allow for only a yes or no answer. If nobody has guessed correctly after 20 questions, play one last round of guesses. Afterwards, the next person restarts the game with a new animal, vegetable, or mineral.

The Telephone Game

In this classic game, one player thinks of a word or phrase and whispers it to another player, who whispers it to someone else. The game continues until the word has been shared with everyone. The last person says the word, which is usually very different than the original one.

Grandma’s House

One person starts by saying the phrase, “I’m going to Grandma’s House and I’m taking an...” and finishes the sentence with an item that starts with the letter A. The next person repeats the phrase and finishes the sentence with an item that begins with a B. The pattern continues with the rest of the alphabet.

The Alphabet Game

First, someone decides on a theme, such as “food.” Then, members of the group take turns reciting foods in alphabetical order—avocado, bologna, chocolate, etc.