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The 15 Definitive Social and Emotional Skills for Children

After countless hours of reviewing research studies and combining my own experience as a child and family therapist, I identified 15 definitive social and emotional skills that are important for children to develop.

All 15 skills are tied to children's predictability on experiencing success in academics, social relationships and overall life satisfaction. In addition, most of the skills are related to the trendy concepts of grit, growth mindset and resiliency.

But what's most important, is that all the skills can be developed and cultivated over time; and are essential to enabling a child to navigate through life's wonders and challenges and maximize their sense of fulfillment.

I applied CASEL's domains (since they are the most credible organization on promoting social and emotional learning) as a foundational basis to organize the skills into 5 simple domains of: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationships Skills and Responsible Decision-Making.

Self Awareness Domain

The Self Awareness domain is a child's ability to accurately recognize their own emotions, thoughts and values which allows them to be more conscious of their actions and behaviors. This is important because when a child is more aware of themselves both internally and externally, they are better able to navigate life challenges and make appropriate decisions.

1. Identify and be aware of own feelings and emotions

The ability to identify and be aware of their internal feelings and emotions during and after a situation. Feelings and emotions are generally indicators, and when a child is able to identify them, they can use this information on how to appropriately respond and react.

2. Identify own strengths and limitations

The ability to understand the degree of their own skills, abilities and talents. This skill provides a child a more accurate sense of how they can approach goals, tasks and challenges.

3. Identify own beliefs and values

Beliefs and values cultivated over time is a child's internal compass. A child's understanding of their internal compass provides them guidance them on how to feel, respond, act and make decisions.

4. Self confidence

Self confidence is the belief in one's ability to organize and execute actions to succeed in a particular situation. This allows a child to perform at their potential, accept challenges and manage setbacks.

Self Management Domain

The Self Management Domain is a child's ability to successfully regulate their own emotions, thoughts and behaviors in different situations. This enables a child to manage stress, control impulses, set goals and motivate themselves. Self Management are essential life skills that impacts how a child engages with their academics, interests and social relationships.

5. Manage impulses and delay gratification

The ability to manage impulses and delay gratification are fundamental to self-discipline. The ability to adequately manage impulses allows a child to decide, act and behave more appropriately. And the ability to delay gratification when appropriate allows a child to set and achieve goals.

6. Sustain attention and focus

The ability to sustain adequate attention and focus on tasks, in thinking and social situations. A child's age-appropriate attention and focus abilities allows them to think clearly, and increase likelihood to complete tasks and responsibilities.

7. Goal Setting

The ability to think and plan ahead to set goals for both their own and social wants/needs. Goals can be short-, mid- or long-term.

8. Emotional Regulation

The ability to tolerate and manage uncomfortable feelings that may arise during challenges and difficult situations. When a child is able to manage uncomfortable feelings (e.g. frustration, anxiety, fear, grief) when appropriate, this will better equip them to navigate and overcome challenges.

Social Awareness Domain

Social Awareness Domain is a child's abi