The Kid Connection is a Tier 2 Intervention Program that provides TK-5th grade students an opportunity to learn and practice the 5 competencies of Social Emotional Learning in a small group setting. Research indicates that students who are taught social emotional learning skills show academic gains, improved classroom behavior, are better able to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, and have more satisfying relationships with others. The 5 Social Emotional Learning competencies are:
Responsible Decision Making
During their weekly half-hour Kid Connection session, small groups of students meet with the Kid Connection Specialist in a dedicated Kid Connection room. The sessions are held during the school day. Examples of specific lessons taught and practiced include being aware of emotions, managing emotions, taking a deep breath, being mindful, beginning a conversation, joining a group, taking turns, resolving conflict, maintaining friendships, and making a responsible decision.
Over the last 30 years, the Kid Connection has supported the social emotional development of thousands of students in the LVJUSD. For more information regarding The Kid Connection, please contact Rancho Las Positas Kid Connection Specialist, Nancy Belluomini at firstname.lastname@example.org or Liisa Hanninen-Danner, PhD, LVJUSD Wellness Coordinator, at Lhanninen-danner@Lvjusd.org or 925-606-3219.
Emotional Regulation / Self Control
- Help your child to identify the signals their body sends to them when they’re upset.
- Ask questions such as: Do you feel tightness in your chest? Do your shoulders become tense and scrunch up? Does your face feel warm? Do your eyes squint? Does your brow furrow? Do you talk loudly or shout?
- Practice taking Brave Breaths with your child:
- Inhale slowly from your belly up to your nose; exhale through your mouth, all the way back down to your belly.
- For some people it helps to pretend they’re smelling a flower when breathing in and blowing out a candle when breathing out.
- Inhale for about 3 seconds, exhale for 4 to 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Talk with your child about options for dealing with emotions in positive ways, e.g., talk to an adult, walk away, draw a picture, write in a journal, take Brave Breaths.
- Support your child’s choice of options discussed and help them move on.
Expressing My Feelings
- The first step in expressing your emotions is to understand and label how you feel.
- Encourage your child to take a deep breath and think about how he/she is feeling.
- What is your child’s facial expression, tone of voice and body language communicating?
- Have your child label his/her feeling, “I feel ________.”
- Talk with your child about healthy ways to express emotions (Talk about how he/she is feeling, draw a picture or write in a journal about how he/she is feeling, take a break, do some deep breathing, get some exercise, get involved in an activity).
- Model healthy ways of expressing emotions.
- Remind your child that there aren’t “bad” emotions. Everyone feels angry or sad at times. We can learn healthy ways to express our feelings.
- Provide positive feedback when your child expresses emotions in a healthy way.
Setting a Goal
- Talk with your child about achievable goals and brainstorm ideas. For example, making his bed every morning for the week.
- Have your child write down his/her goal and post it where he/she will see it regularly.
- Discuss strategies to help your child reach the goal. For example, post a note reminding your child to make his/her bed each morning or, have a chart with the days listed so that your child can make a check each day after making the bed.
- Provide positive feedback for small steps and for reaching the goal.
Being a good listener supports our relationships with others, participation in sports and other activities, school success and many other areas of our lives. To practice this skill at home:
- Model good listening behavior for your child (e.g., look at him when he/she is talking, pay attention and be engaged)
- When it’s time for your child to listen, remind him/her of the steps involved:
- Look at the person talking
- Be quiet so you can hear
- Focus and pay attention to what is being said
- Show that you are interested and engaged (nod your head, smile)
- When it’s your turn to talk, ask follow up questions
- Provide positive feedback to your child for being a good listener.