With the current pandemic and school closures, children everywhere may be experiencing an increase in social communication difficulties. Some children feel uncomfortable using video conferencing platforms, like Zoom or Google Meet, which limits their ability to participate in distance learning. Some are social distancing at home with no siblings or other children to play with. Some are missing out on their social skills groups or group therapy with their SLP. And some are missing out on organized sports, camps, or other recreational activities.
Understandably, many parents are worried and have concerns regarding their child's social communication skills and emotional development. Here are some ideas for how you can support your child at home through online activities, videos, animated shorts, and books.
EMOTIONAL ABC'S is an awesome website full of videos, online activities, discussion ideas, and printable worksheets.
“We teach children, ages 4-11, how to figure out WHAT they are feeling, WHY they are having that emotion, and HOW to make better choices.”
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Everyday Speech is a social emotional learning program. They have created wonderful videos that demonstrate a variety of skills, including:
As you watch the videos with your child, pause and have a discussion about what is happening, what's going well, what isn't working, what could be said, etc.
*This is an emotions BINGO game. Download my free "Social-Emotional Resources for Parents" to get a BINGO card.
Wordless animated shorts are short videos with animated characters that do little to no talking. They are a great way to focus on all of the ways that we communicate non-verbally - body language, facial expressions, pointing & gestures, etc. You can also observe social situations and problem solving scenarios without having the added pressure of also having to listen to and analyze the words being said. When watching shorts, you can pause the video to ask questions and discuss:
How does the character feel? How do you know? Discuss the clues that you see (e.g facial expressions, body language).
What is happening?
What is the problem? How is the character trying to solve the problem?
How would you solve the problem if it was you?
What could the character say?
Below is an example of a short. Download out my free "Social-Emotional Resources for Parents" packet for additional shorts.
Pathway 2 Success has a wonderful list of 100+ books to support social-emotional learning. Many of the books can be found on YouTube like the one below :
Don't miss out on opportunities in your everyday life!
Children watch movies and TV shows everyday that could be used as a learning opportunity. Sit with your child and discuss during or after, some of the questions mentioned above.
Talk about how you're feeling at different parts of the day and why you feel that way. Go beyond the typical emotions of happy, mad, and sad. Teach your child feelings like frustration, annoyance, excitement, etc.
If you're feeling a negative emotion, narrate out loud what you're doing to keep yourself calm and in control of your body - "I'm really frustrated right now. I need to take 3 deep breaths", "I'm exhausted. I need to take a nap", "I'm feeling upset. I'm going to get a glass of water."
For additional links, download the free "Social-Emotional Resources for Parents" packet.
Have a wonderful summer, and stay safe!