Parent Series: A look at how parents can be their child’s coach
Small children can have big emotions, and it is not always easy for them to share what they are feeling. During a recent virtual continuation of the district’s Parent Series, guests learned how they can best serve as their child’s social and emotional coach.
Throughout the pandemic, with children in remote or hybrid learning, and parents trying to balance their jobs and family responsibilities, it is no surprise that emotions are running high.
The virtual meeting on March 4 was co-hosted by Maryam Castro, social worker and community coordinator, and science teacher Lindsay Chudoba, who both work at John F. Kennedy Elementary School. They introduced parents to different techniques that can help them help their children build more responsibility and independence.
“The social and emotional needs of our children are a priority,” Ms. Castro said. “We do know when the social and emotional needs are not met first, challenges in the classroom and in their lives are made much more challenging.”
Parents commented that they have found ways to help ease their child’s stress during the pandemic. Some families take walks together, while others have impromptu dance parties. Engaging in physical activity is shown to support reducing stress, said Ms. Castro.
There are five competencies that work together to help children’s chances of improving how they manage their feelings, said Ms. Castro. They are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and decision making.
“The social and emotional needs of children are all things that can be taught, modeled and practiced,” Ms. Castro said.
A technique that Ms. Castro uses in class is to ask her students how they feel without them replying with the words “I’m good.” This makes students think more and learn to name their feelings, rather than dismiss them. Over time, this helps them to normalize their feelings. Other ways to help a child is to allow them breaks to get away from their computers and discuss ways they can feel better.
One parent said that she asks her children what the best and worst parts of their day was, and then discusses with them alternate ways to handle their issues.
“The most important thing is having those conversations and having empathy,” Ms. Castro said.
Regarding social awareness, Ms. Castro said that parents should help their child understand the thoughts and feelings of others. One way to do that is for a parent to demonstrate their own care and concern for others. Role playing social situations and appropriate responses can help, along with letting a child know that making mistakes is normal and can teach valuable lessons.
Developing relationship skills and understanding how children’s actions can impact others also benefits them. In addition, decision making skills are paramount to a child’s success. Learning how to think about how their actions will impact others – and knowing how to solve problems on their own – is something that will benefit them throughout their lives.
“The more we coach and support our children versus actually solving their problems is so important,” Ms. Castro said. “It carries over to everything they do in school. We want them to know decisions can yield both positive and negative consequences.”
Upcoming Parent Series sessions include:
- March 25: Writing Coaching
- April 8: Reading Coaching
- April 14: Math Coaching