How to help your child develop strong social and emotional skills?

a child sitting at a desk with pens and pencils learning social and emotional skills

Being social and emotionally intelligent has become an integral trait in today’s fast-paced world. With this comes the challenge of nurturing our children’s social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL ensures a round approach to their behavioural patterns. These include emotional regulation, empathy, communication skills, and self-awareness. These are important traits they need to navigate life’s challenges, build healthy relationships, and make responsible decisions. As parents, we play a vital role in their development, and it becomes our responsibility to raise them in a way where they know the ways they are supposed to act in a certain setting. There are plenty of ways to equip them with these essential tools. In today’s blog, we will discuss the same in extreme detail. 

Building emotional regulation:

As the world seems to understand the importance of emotional aspects, it becomes exceedingly important to make sure you teach your kids the art of emotional regulation even in the toughest situations. 

  • Labelling emotions: A lot of times kids and even teens struggle to understand what they are feeling. Help your child name their feelings – angry, sad, frustrated, etc. You can by giving them a vocabulary to express themselves. Being able to know precisely how they feel will help them deal with them.
  • Calming techniques: Once you have helped them figure out what they feel, work on dealing with those emotions. Calming techniques will help them get a better understanding of things around them. Teach them simple tools like deep breathing, counting, or taking a quiet break to manage their emotions constructively.
  • Validation and empathy: One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to invalidate their child’s emotions. Acknowledge their feelings without judgment and offer comfort to create a safe space. You will need to do this to create a safe environment for emotional expression. 

Fostering empathy:

We are social creatures and so it becomes important to teach our kids to respect other people’s feelings. Understanding and respecting the feelings of others will automatically turn them into empathetic individuals who are aware of their surroundings. 

  • Read social stories: Empathy is an emotion that needs to be inculcated in a child at a very young age. An amazing way to do it is to read stories to them. Books with diverse characters facing emotional situations can help your child understand different perspectives. You can also take their input on how they feel about a particular character struggling with a specific emotion.
  • Role-playing: If your kids know how to act in a particular situation, you have done a great job. To do this, act out everyday scenarios and discuss how different characters might feel. This will play a huge role in encouraging empathy and understanding in your child.
  • Modelling kindness: Kids imbibe what they see. Show compassion and care for others in your daily interactions. This will set a code of conduct for your kid. Your actions will help in letting your child witness the power of empathy. This might help you set the right example for them.

Developing communication skills:

When a kid is unable to understand their emotions, they need someone to help them figure it out. But even if they have figured it out, you need to be there in case they want to talk about it. As parents, you can be a shoulder for them to rely on.

  • Active listening: Sometimes, all your child will need is for someone to listen to what they are going through. In such a case, give your child your full attention, making eye contact and asking clarifying questions to show you’re listening actively. This will give them a sense of being heard which will validate their feelings.
  • Communication of how they feel: A lot of times, emotions can be ambiguous for them to name. Encourage them to use “I feel” statements to express their emotions and needs assertively. This will give you a better understanding of their feelings and also help them get closer to naming how they feel.
  • Open communication: Home should be a safe space for kids to voice out how they feel. You need to foster a sense of comfort for honest conversations about their feelings and experiences. This will help you in building mutual trust and improve communication skills.

Nurturing self-awareness:

Your kids should be aware of who they are. They should have a sense of identity. This includes their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Talking more about it will help them explore these areas better. 

  • Strengths and weaknesses: Talk about your child’s strengths and talents. This will play an active role in boosting their self-confidence. Discuss areas for improvement together. This conversation should not demean them but rather focus on growth and learning.
  • Decision-making: While they are trying to get to know themselves, they might face some decisional issues. Your role is to offer age-appropriate choices and guide them through the consequences of their decisions. This will help in fostering self-awareness and responsibility.
  • Journaling and reflection: If they are feeling something ambiguous, talking or writing about it will give them a better understanding. Encourage them to write down their thoughts and feelings or simply reflect on their day. This is a great way of promoting self-understanding.


Situation: Shy Child Hesitates to Participate

An 8-year-old son, Alex, who is reluctant and shy, often sits on the sidelines during group activities at school.

What can you, as a parent, do in such a situation?


  1. Empathy and Validation: It is important to acknowledge your child’s feelings. You can do so by asking simple questions like “I see you’re not joining the game. Is it feeling a bit overwhelming?”  In this way, you will be able to validate his shyness without judgment.
  2. Take small steps: Do not push your kid to go too far out of their comfort zone. Encourage gradual participation in activities. Suggest them to start off with simple steps. These are things like observing, clapping along, and then maybe joining a quieter activity within the group.
  3. Positive reinforcement goes a long way: It is important to praise and celebrate small victories. Making statements like “Wow, you clapped along! That’s great!” will give your kid a sense of victory. Acknowledge your kid’s progress, no matter how small.
  4. Role-playing: Practice joining the group and trying to get along at home through pretend play. For this, you can act out different scenarios and encourage them to use phrases like “Can I play too?” or “May I join you?” This will act as a cue for them to ask similar questions in group settings.
  5. Use games to develop social skills: Playing board games or using activities specifically designed to teach social skills can be of significant help. These games should include socially collaborative activities like taking turns, sharing, and expressing emotions.
  6. Help your child connect with peers: Keep your kids around people they are comfortable with. This will help in opening them up to more interactions. Encourage playdates with one or two other children in a relaxed setting. This allows them to build confidence in smaller groups.
  7. Seek support if needed: If shyness persists for a long time and significantly impacts his life, you might want to consider talking to a therapist or counselor. These are experts who can offer you. who can provide specialized guidance in this situation.

Fostering strong social-emotional skills in children is crucial for their well-being and success in life. By nurturing emotional regulation, empathy, communication skills, and self-awareness, parents can help their children navigate challenges, build relationships, and make responsible decisions. At DPS Warangal School, we believe in actively engaging and supporting parents to play an integral role in shaping their children’s social-emotional development.