October Theme #Self-Awareness
PARENTAL TIP: Recognize and encourage the individuality in every child.
Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, HS-BCP
Psychotherapist, SEL Specialist
Do you remember the first time your toddler found a mirror? What an astonishing moment!
All at once, this little one saw a person who was unfamiliar yet had something about them that was engaging and a bit unsettling all at once.
The first time a baby sees themselves in the mirror, their instinct is to reach out and touch the face. With fearless determination, they touch the mirror repeatedly. They put their tiny palms on this image never realizing – “it’s me!’
What may seem to be a simple exercise is actually a lesson in self-love. Watching that toddler smile at the face in the mirror, engage and even attempt to hug and kiss this image is creating a sense of self-love as they become increasingly more self-aware.
With this month’s theme being # SELF-AWARENESS, it is a wonderful opportunity for parents to think back to the days when their child first became self-aware. In that time of discovery also came major changes in the life of that child as they not only loved the image staring back at them, but they also loved being able to do things without you, like crawling, standing, and eventually taking their first steps alone.
Our theme for this month, # SELF-AWARENESS, is a very vital component of social-emotional development because it goes together with recognizing individuality in our children. Many times, children may feel lost, ignored, or become one of the crowds in their homes and at school and not feel comfortable speaking up, making themselves heard and retreat. These children need to be encouraged to express their thoughts and given opportunities to know themselves better.
Every child is seeking to know who they are and by encouraging communication we are giving them the opportunity to learn about themselves. The tip for this month is to focus on the individuality of every child and I encourage parents to take a moment to recognize and celebrate what makes each child special.
# SELF-AWARENESS # INDIVIDUALITY #INDEPENDENCE # SELF-LOVE
November Theme #Gratitude
By Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams, HS-BCP
The social-emotional theme for November is # GRATITUDE. As we enter a season of giving and celebration for many, it is also a time to think about what or whom we have in our lives that makes us grateful and full of # GRATITUDE.
Focusing discussions, classroom activities and family time on # GRATITUDE provides children with an opportunity to learn about the concepts of kindness as they think about what they have done for others. Providing children with activities that learn about who they are and what they must give and share with others, contributes to emotional development and increased confidence.
The theme of # GRATITUDE in social-emotional learning encourages thinking about:
- Did someone do something nice for you?
- Did someone give you something or take you somewhere fun?
- What are all the reasons you’re thankful for this?
- Why do you think someone did something nice for you?
- Does this mean something to you?
- When you think about these special things or people, how do you feel?
- What can you actively do to express your gratitude for this person, place, or thing?
Children who have received the lessons of # GRATITUDE become adults who understand what it means to appreciate their gifts and share them with others. Children who truly understand that # GRATITUDE must be practiced, work harder to make others happy and therefore, feeling happy and satisfied because of the good deeds they share and the confidence they develop.
As parents and educators, we have an opportunity this month to celebrate the theme of # GRATITUDE in creative and exciting ways that will continue to expand our children’s and students’ knowledge. In addition, a daily practice of # GRATITUDE also improves our mental health and wellness as we think of all that we are grateful to have in our lives.
December Theme #Self-Discipline
This month’s social-emotional theme is #SELF-DISCIPLINE. It is a theme that can apply to every age group and many areas of our lives.
#SELF-DISCIPLINE is one of the first lessons parents teach their children. As parents, we think about giving our children the tools to be aware of danger, to understand that there are times when we need to make choices and learn that achievement is tied to #SELF-DISCIPLINE.
When I think about how I taught my children about #SELF-DISCIPLINE, I can recall when they were toddlers and exploring the world and touching everything in their path. I took them by the hand and used a stern face and serious voice to warn them about touching the stove or going down the stairs alone. It was a lesson to say, we cannot do everything we want and to control ourselves—making smart choices.
Those days of teaching these simple lessons led to discussions on making choices as they moved into their teen years. These discussions also focused on understanding what was necessary to achieve a goal including sacrifice and compromise like how it was more important to study than watch their favorite television show.
As our children get older and face increased choices, managing their own time and understanding that their decisions will affect their futures, #SELF-DISCIPLINE is an important and healthy habit.
TIPS TO ACHIEVE #SELF-DISCIPLINE
- Following through on commitments.
- Being aware of and not giving into distractions.
- Taking good care of self.
- Work at developing healthy habits.
- They set good boundaries for work and play.
- Recognize the benefits of developing and keeping a routine.
- Decisions are made based on time and deadlines.
- Establish clearly defined goals.
- Stick to decisions and follow through.
- Be disciplined and dedicated to achieving their goals.
This month we encourage you to have conversations with your child about how they define # SELF-DISCIPLINE and how it applies to their school and home responsibilities.
Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams
Social and emotional learning and wellness