Social Emotional Skills

A critical piece of teaching children social and emotional behavior skills is to do just that-teach the skills. Many adults wait until a child misbehaves or "pushes their buttons" before reacting. The result is usually some type of discipline or punishment. Teaching does not occur in the heat of the moment, only emotional reactions. Therefore, children often repeat the behavior. Good teachers (and parents) teach their children appropriate behavior BEFORE inappropriate behavior occurs. When a child has background knowledge prior to the episode, the adult can say, "Remember when we talked about not hitting someone? What did we decide you should do instead?" This kind of a dialog instantly de-escalates the situation so that reasoning and understanding can take over, not emotional reactions. Previously setting up consequences also takes the emotion out of the moment. Both the child and adult already know the consequences (previously chosen with the input of the child) for the behavior.