Why is Social Emotional Learning so Important for our kids?

Did you know that your child’s social emotional learning (SEL) capacities at kindergarten age could predict the future of your child? Well, I think that life isn’t that simple, but stay with me to learn about this rather interesting study:

A group of researchers were curious.  They questioned, “Do you think that a child’s future wellness can be linked to their social emotional capacities?”  Simply, “Does a social child in kindergarten do well in life compared to those that aren’t as social?”

Kindergarten teachers were asked to rate their students’ prosocial skills. Then, 13-19 years later, the children (who all were adults by this time) were assessed in terms of adult outcomes.  Amazingly, they found a statistical significant link between the child’s social emotional skills in kindergarten and:

  • Level of education;
  • Employment;
  • Criminal activity;
  • Substance use; and
  • Mental health.

Of course, they made the clear observation regarding the importance of children’s social emotional skills, but also suggested that this type of knowledge could help identify ‘at risk’ children.

This is significant because social emotional skills can be learned! Your child does not need to be defined by his social skills at kindergarten age. The critical piece though, is that, although our sights are focused on academics once our children enter school, we are missing a huge piece of the puzzle when we overlook the importance of our children’s social emotional learning capacities.


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