What can we do to address this crisis? How can we move the needle and mitigate the impact of this relentless storm? What can we do to help children understand and deal with their emotions, big and small, not just in this moment, but for their whole life? How can we come through this having built a foundation of emotional well-being for every child ... and for ourselves?
There has been so much conversation about learning loss, but what all those conversations are missing is the importance of social and emotional skills: managing one’s own emotions and those of others. Emotions are at the core of all we do, impacting not only our emotional health and behavior, but also our physical well-being. For both children and adults, the ability to manage and regulate emotion is critical to every aspect of our lives. When feelings are not managed or regulated well, they hijack our brain and interrupt our ability to move forward. When the brain is dealing with unregulated emotions, we cannot focus, think, or problem-solve, and we cannot persist in the face of frustration. These are the executive functioning skills necessary for learning and relationships.
When do we lay the foundation for these skills? We start at birth.