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Social and emotional development of kids

Social and emotional development (lockdown impact)

Social and emotional development (SEL) are the successive stages of the growth of emotions in a particular age stage, which cause the internal and social adaptations to progress to higher and higher levels.


Emotional development builds individual features adapting to social life, shapes feature that is an indispensable element of the development of every human being.


People all over the world are in an atmosphere of uncertainty, social isolation, and the dangers of the coronavirus. All these events are accompanied by a variety of emotions, ranging from great surprise and surprise, through anxiety and anger, to fear, sometimes turning into panic. Among these events, news from television, remote work, distance learning, some children do not understand everything that gives rise to difficult experiences and emotions that are unfavorable for their social and emotional development and everyday functioning.


Table of contents:

speaker about social emotional development


United Nations Statement

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, spoke about the impact of the pandemic on children in April 2020. He drew attention to several important issues, including the need for the social and emotional development of children:


  • Some schools offer distance learning, but it is not available to everyone. Children in countries where internet services are slow and expensive are in a difficult situation.
  • There is a greater risk that the lack of direct contact with friends and colleagues may lead to risky disarray behavior, SEL development disorders, and increase the proportion of children who are beaten and abused.
  • Reducing household incomes will force poor families to cut basic health and food expenditure, with an impact especially on children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
  • In addition, we should commit to an effective reconstruction of socio-economic life, building on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. We strive to build a more sustainable, inclusive society and economy in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


In this article, we will look at how the ongoing lockdown related to the coronavirus pandemic has affected the social and emotional development of children.



Social and emotional development – how to properly develop SEL?


 tutorial about social-emotional development

Why do our children need social and emotional development now more than before?



SEL development needs to be structured to be effective. Research shows that a clear plan, a supportive administration, and training for those implementing SEL are pivotal to making this learning part of school culture. In other words, a structured program with a coherent sequence delivered by trained educators can make the difference.



An ideal plan, what is worth working on during this time as part of social and emotional development?


Child psychologist Anna Karcz would include such points in it:

Social emotional development examples of activities

  • recognizing and naming feelings in specific situations,
  • developing the ability to control emotions,
  • practicing specific activities that help regulate emotions,
  • building a child’s real self-esteem,
  • motivating to cooperate,
  • introducing to independence (not relieving the child of activities that he can cope with, giving the possibility of independent expression, formulating questions in such a way that the child has a chance to answer them himself),
  • accepting all the feelings of the child,
  • active, supportive listening to the child,
  • gradual improvement of the ability to assimilate social norms and rules,
  • developing a sense of duty and responsibility,
  • freeing the child from playing the imposed roles at home and school,
  • supporting the process of building mutual relationships between people – learning to share, wait, respect others, take responsibility for your behavior,
  • sensitizing to the eye and auditory contact, focusing attention on the current situation, on the speaking person’s face and the ability to actively listen and follow commands,
  • implementing the habit of completing activities before starting the next ones.


ReThinked.com further indicates that SEL skills emphasize proactive academic, career, and citizenship behaviors. Additional guidelines for learning social and emotional development should follow the advice below: 



How did the lockdown affect social and emotional development?


Each education process requires monitoring. Tracking students’ progress in acquiring knowledge and social and emotional competencies allows them to move on to more and more difficult issues, and as a result guarantees the child’s social and emotional development


online learning and impact on social emotional development

The great importance of SEL‘s development is mentioned by as many as 93% of teachers. It is worth noting, however, that most of them believe that their complete development only at home is impossible. We need a school to fully educate our children. We need to deal with the pandemic and limit its negative impact on students.


In the monitoring process, methods should be selected that will allow the student to cope with the new educational reality and whether the content provided, and the tools selected for them allow the student to work independently. An important element in the evaluation of the didactic process is the dialogue between the teacher and the student, which makes it possible to modify the course of the education process to improve its quality.


The education process cannot ignore the development of the child’s SEL sphere. The situation of isolation and prolonged lack of contact with peers can harm the well-being of young people. Pay attention to all signals sent by students, ask about their well-being, encourage them to share their experiences, show support and understanding. 


An extremely important and sensitive issue is the support for children experiencing domestic violence. The lack of direct contact between the teacher and the child makes it difficult to recognize the signals sent by the student. Violence is a huge obstacle to the social and emotional development of children.


It is necessary to develop solutions that will ensure the safety of the child, and the teachers will be equipped with tools for an accurate diagnosis.



How to support a child and its SEL development during the pandemic?

The pandemic is having profound effects on children’s mental well-being, their social and emotional development, their safety, their privacy, their economic security, and beyond, as we explore in the following section.


Below we present a set of exercises and activities that will support the social and emotional development of children, as well as make them feel safer and help form bonds between the youngest and their guardians.


1. Name and accept the child’s emotions

Naming and accepting your emotions is always important. Not only during the pandemic. But now, with such an accumulation of them, it is especially important. Therefore, when you see that your child is having a hard time. Name them and accept them.


2. Answer questions and let the children ask

We are often convinced that the most important thing is the content of our response. It is important, but equally important is our attitude to ask questions. These questions arise from the accumulated tension and uncertainty that we all face today. Hence, our readiness is extremely important – when we answer, please ask questions, we show: “I’m ready” and we introduce a safe atmosphere.


At a time when access to many of the incentives of the cause was restricted, so that social and emotional development could be continued through an innate childhood curiosity.


3. Emphasize the positives of everyday life

It is equally important to experience joy, gratitude, and excitement together, and to name and capture good, nice, precious moments together. Cultivating gratitude. It is also valuable time. Just because it can be difficult doesn’t mean it will be just that. Each common day can have many wonderful moments. They largely depend on us – on how we arrange this time and whether we focus on noticing what is valuable and important. Many of us can catch up with board games, fooling around, hugging etc.


4. Create a space to talk about emotions

The child must have his own safe space and people among whom he will seek support in this difficult time.

Hence, it is so important to create a space for talking about feelings that will enter the daily routine. Sometimes it is enough to ask the question: How are you? How did you feel today? What emotions visited you?

There will also, be times when it will not be enough and other resources and creative aids will be needed to open the door to conversation.


5. Use educational aids in social and emotional development during the pandemic

The home study period does not have to be chaotic and disorganized. All kinds of teaching aids for children can be beneficial in acquiring knowledge and SEL skills during remote learning.


The modern trend puts emphasis on learning modern technologies and programming – in this area programmable robots are extremely helpful, with the help of which children can gain a number of competences of the future, including coding, which will pay off in the coming times. The robots will also help in learning other subjects, including physics and ecology. They will also be useful for children with special educational needs.



Social and emotional development in the new normality


Limited social development, obesity, addiction to screens. But often new competencies: learning with understanding, independence, the ability to organize free time. Let’s look at the impact of the pandemic on our little ones. When we must – let’s step in and eliminate the negative impact.


Teachers, experts, epidemiologists, and politicians must work together to solve growing problems. When saving some lives, we must not neglect others, especially since children are our future. Secure our future and let’s not allow lockdown to affect children’s development, including their social and emotional development.


Social and emotional development – must-watch webinars

  1. 9NEWS – COVID-19: Social-emotional impact on children 
  2. Everyday Speech – Social-Emotional Learning: Healthy Home Practices During COVID-19
  3. Committee for Children – Four Reasons Why SEL Is So Important Right Now
  4. MomsRising.org – Our Kids’ Social Emotional Development During COVID19
  5. Second Step – Trauma-Sensitive Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  6. United Nations – UN chief on the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children (16 April 2020) 



Social and emotional development – bibliography:

  1. https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/policy_brief_on_covid_impact_on_children_16_april_2020.pdf
  2. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-09-04-four-reasons-why-students-and-teachers-need-sel-embedded-into-school-all-day-every-day
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2020/12/07/the-power-of-social-and-emotional-learning-why-sel-is-more-important-than-ever/?sh=74d44a057a29
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/parenting/coronavirus-masks-kids-socialization.html
  5. https://www.ecis.org/lockdown/
  6. https://www.rethinked.com/pages/Sel
  7. https://www.economicsobservatory.com/what-will-be-impact-lockdown-childrens-development
  8. https://www.eif.org.uk/blog/five-reasons-why-social-and-emotional-learning-is-critical-to-our-recovery-from-covid-19
  9. https://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news/article/ofsted-children-s-learning-and-development-regressed-in-lockdown
  10. https://www.iste.org/explore/meeting-students-social-emotional-needs-during-covid-19-lockdown
  11. https://www.eur.nl/en/news/impact-lockdown-adolescents
  12. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/teaching-social-emotional-skills-amid-covid-19/2020/09
  13. https://www.unicef.org/georgia/stories/what-impact-does-closure-kindergartens-have-children-families-and-preschool-teachers