Practicing Predictable Situations for Social-Emotional Learning

December 1, 2022

Everyday predictable situations can be used to increase a child’s social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, demonstrate care and concern for others, establish and maintain relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle interpersonal situations effectively.

It is important to exercise predictable situations where social-emotional breakdowns may occur. During these exercises, it is essential to practice using the language that will help children during these situations. Below are ideas for increasing social-emotional learning (SEL) during everyday predictable activities.

Cut in line
Have the children line up. Demonstrate someone cutting in line and discuss the feelings of why someone would cut (e.g., excitement, carelessness, unawareness) and how others feel when someone cuts in line. Practice using the appropriate language during this situation, e.g., “Excuse me” and “I was here.”

Blocking the view
Arrange the children in a way where they are blocking another child’s view. Discuss how the child that is being blocked may feel. Discuss what the child that is being blocked can do to have a better view. The child can tap on the other child’s shoulder to sign that they are blocking the view.

Taking turns
Engage in a turn-taking game. Discuss how someone may feel if their turn is skipped. Practice using the appropriate language, “my turn” and “your turn.”

Waiting for a friend
Have the children pretend to need time to tie their shoes. Discuss the feelings of what it feels like when a friend doesn’t wait. Practice using the appropriate language, “wait for me” and “don’t worry, I’ll wait for you.”

Orchestrate a situation where two kids may want the same toy or book. Discuss how someone may feel happy when a friend shares. Practice using that language, e.g., “I feel happy when you share.” Arrange the children in a way where they can both look at a book together.

One way of addressing these types of skills is through our Social Communication Groups. Contact us to find out more about these groups and how your child can participate.

Dodge, E. P., Rice, C., Grimm, D., Whiskeyman, L., & Schroeder, S. (2010). Kimochis; Toys with feelings inside. San Anselmo, CA: Plushy Feely Corp.


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