Early childhood is a critical time period in development when children begin to learn about their environment, develop a sense of self and explore how to express their emotions. While a huge part of development occurs prior to entering school, children continue to grow and develop as they encounter new life experiences. Positive relationships with parents help children develop trust, empathy, compassion and a sense of right and wrong.
It is important that parents foster social and emotional learning throughout early experiences. According to experts, when kids learn to work well with others, regulate their emotions and engage in problem-solving, they are better prepared to deal with life’s challenges and be more successful in school.
What Is Social and Emotional Learning?
Social and emotional learning (SEL) involves creating positive relationships and emotional connections as part of learning to help children develop the skills they need to be successful in life. SEL has often been emphasized in schools, given the amount of time spent in the classroom and the opportunities available to practice these important skills. SEL skills include having the ability to:
Strategies for Supporting SEL in Kids
Remember that life is unpredictable, and many children are learning by watching the actions of adults in their lives. Early childhood is also a critical opportunity to teach social and emotional skills. As kids grow and develop, it is necessary to prepare them to deal with uncertainty now to help them thrive in adulthood.
Visit the Therapy for Black Kids book recommendations for books on fostering SEL: http://bit.ly/T4BKbooks
A version of this was originally written by Dr. Erlanger Turner for the US News and World Report For Parents Blog
Resilience is the ability to overcome difficulties and adapt to changes in life. For example, many Black kids and their families may have experienced difficulties related to COVID-19 but they have been able to maintain their emotional and psychological health despite these difficulties. Several different types of resilience have been described including psychological, emotional, and community.
Black History Month and Resilience
Black History Month is an important moment to celebrate the legacy and contributions of Black people to society. Some scholars  have described how Black history knowledge (BHK) helps “foster psychological liberation - healthy functioning characterized by a conceptual shift from a narrative rooted only in oppression to a narrative that acknowledges the strengths, accomplishments, and creativity of Black people throughout their history”. Furthermore, BHK can provide Black youth with knowledge of the historical experiences of Black people in America to provide them with a healthier identity and it can help promote resilience .
6 Ways to Build Resilience in Black Youth
Although being resilient doesn’t prevent children and teens from experiencing emotional difficulties in the face of negative life events. Research demonstrates that resilience helps to reduce risk and promote healthy development. Below are a few tips from the American Psychological Association.
Written by Erlanger “Earl” Turner, Ph.D.
 Chapman-Hilliard, C., & Adams-Bass, V. (2016). A conceptual framework for utilizing Black history knowledge as a path to psychological liberation for Black youth. Journal of Black Psychology, 42(6), 479-507.
Note: This blog was previously published for Psychology Today
This blog is maintained by Therapy for Black Kids.