SEL in Action at Home


A global pandemic, social unrest, political polarization, and most recently, a catastrophic winter snowstorm that left many families and children seeking warmth, shelter, food, and water. It’s no wonder our families and children are experiencing unprecedented trauma, stress, and anxiety! Unfortunately, life is full of challenges and stressful events, and although we cannot remove stressors, we can practice calming strategies to help alleviate some short-term and long-term health and mental impacts associated with chronic stress.

In this edition of SEL in Action at Home, learn different calming strategies, including mindful breathing, as well as gentle movement. Also, listen to children explain what stress means to them, and why breathing helps alleviate stress, and many more tips and resources to help create an emotionally safe environment for your family. Remember to be gentle with others, and especially yourself!

SEL FAMILY DISCUSSION SERIES: Session 5- Family Emotional Safety , March 24, 6:00-7:00 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 6: Managing Stress With Mindfulness, April 21st)


The ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals. Such as:

  • Managing one’s emotions
  • Identifying and using stress management strategies
  • Exhibiting self-discipline and self-motivation
  • Setting personal and collective goals
  • Using planning and organizational skills
  • Showing the courage to take initiative
  • Demonstrating personal and collective agency
Take A Deep Breath: 3 Techniques That Will Calm You Down
It may seem trivial, but when you are sad or anxious, just take a deep breath. If you breathe deeply you will inevitably go from a state of stress to a state of calmness. (Pure Joy - 04:50 min)
"Just Breathe" by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films)
In this powerful short film, watch and hear from elementary school students learning to use mindfulness to navigate complex feelings. (Mindful Schools - 4 min)
Trauma-Sensitive Chair Yoga for Teens: Stress in My Body

Designed for adolescents ages 13 to 18, these classes are accessible, effective lessons in mindful movement, and helpful for the whole family. (YogaEd - 2 min)

Looking for mindful movement videos for families with children ages 3 to 12? Try Trauma-Sensitive Chair Yoga for Children: Calm Body (YogaEd - 15 min)

Feelings Thermometer

Identifying feelings can help us recognize when they are getting more and more escalated. If we know when they are escalating, then we can intervene and use a coping skill and calming strategy to manage our feelings. This Feelings Thermometer is a wonderful tool that can be used at home to encourage the conversation of identifying feelings and discussing and planning calming strategies. Visit the Coping Skills for Kids for instructions to accompany the printable template.
"Alphabreaths" Mindful Breathing & Moving For Kids
A read-aloud story by Christopher Willard & Daniel Rechtschaffen & illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown, with mindful movements

International #SELDay

Join the Urban Assembly and SEL4US in celebrating the importance of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) on the second annual International SEL Day on March 26, 2021. This year's theme: Building Bonds and Reimagining Community. The National Education Association notes that the pandemic has disrupted the feeling of being together and connected, particularly for children. SEL skills normalize feelings and emotions maintaining a sense of connection, community, and relationships.

The Parade Goes On!, by Mary Hernandez

The Parade Goes On! is a children’s book written by beloved Big Thought team member and literacy advocate, Mary Hernandez. This book shows children the importance of taking charge, helping each other express their feelings, and use their imagination. Click here for more information about Mary Hernandez's legacy.


Join SEL Dallas and Dallas ISD Library and Media Services for our weekly online book club series for students. Books are listed by week and are made available digitally via Dallas ISD Library and Media Services. Learners grades kindergarten through second grade will reach a new book each week with a discussion at the end of the book. Learners grades third through fifth will work on chapter books, with discussions each week. Click on the following links for additional information and registration.


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!