How to Model Social Emotional Skills - Action for Healthy Kids
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How to Model Social Emotional Skills

How to help your child learn:

Responsible Decision-Making

  • Responsible decision-making has to do with making choices that fit your values.
  • Share your thought process: “Before we decide which one to pick, let’s learn a little more about each of them.”
  • Name how your values influence your choices: “It’s important to me that you get a chance to try different foods. That’s why that food is part of our dinner today.”

How to help your child learn​:

Relationship Skills​

  • Relationship skills have to do with starting and maintaining healthy connections with lots of different kinds of people​.
  • Practice active listening: “You’re frustrated because you feel like I haven’t been paying attention to you. Do I have that right? What do you think could help?”​
  • Close the loop and come back after conflict: “This morning’s argument was rough. I’m sorry it happened like that. Can we talk?”​

How to help your child learn:


  • Self-management has to do with your response to your emotions and thoughts, and to the world around you​.
  • Take deep breaths when you’re feeling strong feelings: “I’m feeling really frustrated right now, so I’m going to step in the hallway and take some deep breaths before we figure this out.”​
  • Talk about how you’re approaching challenges: “There is a lot to do before we leave for school. I’m going to make a quick list to keep us organized.”​
  • Reflect on how you’re dealing with things you can’t control: “I wanted to go to the park today too, but it’s raining. Let’s think about other ways we can play and get out our energy.”​

How to help your child learn:


  • Self-awareness has to do with understanding your own emotions, thoughts, and values​.
  • Notice and name your feelings: “Ugh! This traffic is making me feel so flustered.”​
  • Admit when you make a mistake: “I was feeling rushed, and didn’t listen to your idea. Can we try again?”​
  • Notice the connection between your feelings and your actions: “I’m noticing that I’m a little quieter than usual. I’m feeling nervous about something coming up tomorrow at work. ​

How to help your child learn:

Social Awareness

  • Social awareness has to do with understanding others’ perspectives​.
  • Show respectful curiosity about other people: “Our cashier seemed angry. I wonder what was going on for him today.”​
  • Show gratitude: “Let’s stop by Lu’s house really quick – I want to thank them for watching the cat the other day.”​
  • Notice others’ strengths: “Wow! I’ve never seen anyone dance like that. She looked so strong.”​

This project on Improving Mental, Behavioral and Academic Supports to Students and Families, Part 2 is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $434,555 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.