Starting a new family can be a wonderful yet stressful experience. Newborns, and even older babies, can seem mysterious and taking care of them may be a little scary. Fortunately, babies are born with the skills and desire to tell parents what they need. In this blog, experienced moms (who happen to be experts) will help parents understand why babies behave the way they do and share tips to help parents cope with the ups and downs of this new and exciting time of life.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
In the News: Babies Teach Social Emotional Learning
We recently read an article about a school-based
program called Roots of Empathy that helps children learn about emotions by having them spend
time with babies. This news story
reported that through this program, children in the classroom are encouraged to
observe the babies’ development and label the babies' feelings. They then discuss
those feelings and relate them to their own. Sounds a bit like reading cues to
us! So, how does social emotional learning (SEL) work?
learning is “the process of acquiring core competencies to recognize and manage
emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate the perspectives of
others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible
decisions, and handle interpersonal situations constructively.”(Durlak 2011) SEL programs help children
develop healthy behaviors related to self-awareness, self-management, social
awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.
school-based programs, like Roots of Empathy, teach social emotional learning
in two ways. Students learn how to process and apply social and emotional
skills, such as labeling and understanding emotions, appropriately. These
skills are taught by modeling and practice so that the children can apply them
in real life situations.
How does all of this
fit with baby behavior education?
Learning how to
recognize and respond to baby cues improves babies' relationships, but
it doesn’t have to end there. Teaching siblings or other children about baby
behavior, how to understand the baby’s emotions and needs, is not just helpful
for parents and babies; it may also be beneficial for the older child as well.
SEL programs are
associated with lower levels of problem behaviors and emotional distress, improved
academic performance, improved attitudes about self and others, and increased
positive social behaviors such as sharing and helping others.
SEL at home
you have older children, teach them about the cues that your baby uses to communicate.
your children to use the cues to “play detective” to see if they can figure out
what the baby needs. They will love the challenge and enjoy feeling helpful.
Your older child will feel more in control as you teach him or her how to tell
when baby needs a break from playtime and your baby will be happier because of
it! As your child begins to identify cues and emotions of your baby, talk with
them about their own emotions. By helping them label their baby brother or
sister’s cues and feelings, they will become more aware of their own feelings.
Weissberg RP, Dymnicki AB, Taylor RD, Schellinger KB. The impact of enhancing
students' social and emotional learning: a meta-analysis of school-based
universal interventions. Child Dev 2011;82(1):405-32.