How to develop social awareness

In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to develop social awareness skills.

Social awareness means having the sensitivity to pick up what is going on around you.

If you have strong social awareness, you are comfortable around other people; you don’t have problems striking a conversation and connecting with them.

You easily pick up on the nonverbal cues other people drop and you know how to read between the lines.

At work, it’s not hard for you to pick up on the office politics and the pervading group dynamics. Your clients like you, and so do your co-workers.

You can improve your social awareness through these six steps.

How To Develop Social Awareness Skills:

Step 1: Get to know more about the people around you, both at work and at home.

It’s really important for you to know the people around you – their likes and dislikes, what’s going on with them.

You don’t have to work towards being their confidant, but nonetheless it would be great if they see you as someone they can confide in. You get to do that by taking the time to get to know them.

At work, try to make it a point to be friendly with your coworkers, superiors and subordinates.

Ask how they are doing every once in a while, and ask about their families too. If they have a birthday coming up, it won’t hurt to send them a birthday card, or even an e-card.

It also pays to keep your ears to the ground and be familiar with how things work in the office. You’ll never know when you’ll be caught up in the office politics, so learn how to tread the waters.

At home, try to spend as much time with your family as possible. Have date nights with your spouse, take your parents to dinner, play video games with your kids.

The more you spend time with them and show you’re interested in what they’re doing, the more you’ll learn how to maintain harmony at home.

Step 2: Consider how your feelings affect other people.

People react to your moods and the emotions you display, just as you react to other people’s moods and emotions.

So, before you interact with other people, try to check your mood and what you’re feeling first.

If you’re in a bad mood, it’s highly likely that you will become a mood dampener too. Develop a ritual for boosting your mood before you start interacting with people.

For example, if you’re in a bad mood because of traffic on your way to work, shake the bad mood off by stopping by the restroom to check on your appearance.

If work got you stressed out, try to unwind before going home so your spouse and kids won’t pick up on the negative energy coming from you.

Step 3: Improve your listening skills.

If you are a person who is socially aware, you know what is going on around you most of the time.

That’s because you would know how to listen and you encourage people to share information with you that they wouldn’t normally share to just anyone.

Being a good listener is more than just having clear hearing and hearing clearly what is being said.

Most of the time, people imply more than what just the words dropping from their mouth are saying.

It’s the message that isn’t being said that you need to be attuned to.

When you listen to someone, maintain eye contact and focus on the person talking to you. Avoid any distractions that will disturb the conversation.

Pay attention to the person’s facial expressions and how they change during the course of the conversation.

Show them that you’re listening by nodding and smiling and holding your body in an open posture. Don’t interrupt them while they’re talking.

Once they’re done talking, provide feedback by repeating what you understood of the conversation. Let them correct you if you’re wrong.

Be candid, honest and respectful, and don’t be judgmental or argumentative (1).

Step 4: Observe people around you.

Some people have a habit of observing other people whenever they are out in public. It’s an activity called people watching.

People watching can be an awesome exercise when you’re trying to build social awareness.

For instance, when you’re having a drink at a coffee shop, try to observe the other people at the coffee shop.

Watch what they’re doing (discreetly, though, so you won’t end up annoying them). Watch their gestures and facial expressions, and try to guess what mood they’re in from their gestures and facial expressions.

You’d be surprised at how much information you can get from such observations.

Step 5: Learn to be more sensitive.

The world we live in is becoming more and more diverse each day.

Every single day, we encounter people with beliefs and practices different from ours, whose nationality, language and skin color is not the same as ours.

It is very important that we learn to be more sensitive and accepting, or at the very least tolerant of this diversity around us.

How do you learn to become more sensitive and accepting of people who are different from you?

The simple answer is to show empathy and to treat them with care, the way you want to be treated yourself. We are all human beings, after all, regardless of race, skin color, language, gender or religion.

Don’t be judgmental of beliefs and practices you know nothing about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn more about the culture and beliefs of the people around you (2).

Step 6: Get out of your comfort zone.

You need to be more socially aware in order to become comfortable in your interactions with other people.

The thing is, though, you have to get out and interact with other people in order to become more socially aware. It’s a cycle, and you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone so you can get into that cycle.

This is understandably difficult if you suffer from social awkwardness and anxiety. Nonetheless, you’ve got to try.

When someone says hi and smiles at you, make it a point to smile back. When someone invites you to a party, try to show up and mingle.

Get out and have fun.

Thank you for reading this article about how to develop social awareness skills and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

How to develop social awareness

Dec 12, 2016 · 4 min read

How to develop social awareness

Everyone is talking about social awareness and social responsibility. And, how important it is to be socially responsible. But, does social responsibility imply only to the environment and our surrounding?

“Want to manage your team and your projects more efficiently? Start using ProofHub .”

People are focused on making world a better place to live. But, we cannot forget the importance of making workplace better. And, social awareness is an element that holds quite an important role in our workplace.

Social awareness at work

To understand the concept of social awareness at work, let me share a small example with you –

“Suppose you are going to conduct a meeting for the next project. So, you call your team members and gather in the conference room. Now, can you read the room? Can you read the feelings of people sitting in that room? Who is nervous? Who is excited? Who seems ready to take up the challenge?

If the team is happy with the way things are going, then everyone must be excited when a new project arrives. But, if there are some gloomy faces out there, then it is a sign of some problem. And, If you are not able to read that well, then how can you get the best out of your team? After all, when someone in the team is not happy with something, you cannot expect him/her to give their best.”

This is where social awareness comes into the picture. As a manager, you must be able to read the room. So, how can you become socially more aware at work? Here are some tips that have helped me become a better manager, and a leader. I am sure they can help –

Learn the art of empathising

Competition. Strict deadlines. And, the race to do surpass everyone else. All these factors have made us less empathetic. Let me ask you a couple of questions — when was the last time you cared about the feelings of your team mate? Or, you could notice that your colleague was emotionally stressed? If you cannot remember, then you are surely lacking the social awareness.

To become better at it, you can begin by being more empathetic. For instance, if someone in the team has made a silly mistake, don’t blast them off straight away. Talk to them about why it happened? Maybe they were in a state of stress. Maybe they had some problem in their personal life. And, so on.

Working as the manager of the team does not mean that you just assign tasks and get them done. It means you must know how the employees are feeling so that you can get the best out of them. And, that’s where the virtue of empathy becomes so important.

Listen before you speak

Listening is one of the most lightly-taken skills in corporate world. And, why wouldn’t it be as we work in an environment where the focus is on getting things done ASAP. This is the reason that people speak more, and listen less.

And, amidst this race to get more done in less time we forget the basic human emotions. Someone had something to say about the task, but you ignored his/her opinion. That’s where the difference in thoughts begin to pile up. Respect between team members and the manager begins to diminish. And, teams start to break.

After all, no one likes to work with a bossy manager who just places orders and does not listen. If you are socially aware, you will understand the basic human emotions. And, will make everyone feel important. That’s how great leaders create teams that create wonders!

Share to care

To make sure that your team sticks together, you need to learn the art of sharing. As a manager it is your duty to create a work environment where no one feels hesitant to share their thoughts. And, to achieve this you need to take the first step.

Employees spend a big part of their life at office. So, if you will not make them feel at home when they are at work, then you cannot retain them for long. This is why informal company culture has seen such a huge growth over the past few years. People love to work at a place where they can share their personal as well as professional life.

A big step in creating that informal company culture is becoming socially more aware. When everyone in the team can read each other’s feeling, they will feel more connected. And, will develop better work relationships. Even science supports this fact. When employees have better work relationships, they are able to achieve more.

These small things, no one even bothers to care for them at work. But, when we look at them in the longer run, the impact they create on the team and work culture is quite huge!

If you want to create a team that can achieve greatness, the first step should be becoming socially more aware. And, making your team so as well.

Don’t let work become a burden for your team. Start using ProofHub to manage projects effortlessly.

About The Author

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Asperger syndrome is a disorder on the autism spectrum most often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. The disorder does not impact cognitive ability but can affect the individual’s understanding of social cues. People with Asperger’s often excel in fields like mathematics, computer science, linguistics, and music, and have average or above-average IQ. As they reach adulthood, their perceived issues often lessen as they become more adept at socially acceptable behavior.

Lack of Social Awareness

Those with Asperger syndrome are often unable to pick up on social cues around them. They may fail to laugh or cry when a situation warrants these emotions, struggle to understand jokes, and take things literally. Someone with Asperger’s may make comments inappropriate for the situation, or they may continue a conversation past a socially acceptable point, unaware of social “cues” given by those uncomfortable or disinterested in the conversation. This lack of awareness of another person’s feelings is not intentional rudeness. Instead, neurologists think certain areas of the brain are structurally different in people with the disorder. One theory maintains that abnormal development of embryonic cells in utero affects the connectivity and final structure of the brain. This may cause alterations in the neural circuits that control behavior and cognition.

How to develop social awareness

Unusual Speech Patterns

People with Asperger syndrome can speak too loudly, use odd phrasing, abruptly transition from one thought to another, and direct conversations toward their interests and beliefs. A lack of social awareness means they may engage in monologues about subjects in which others are disinterested without recognizing that the other person is not engaging. Many children with Asperger syndrome develop vocabularies sophisticated for their age but have trouble comprehending figurative language, preferring literal usage.

How to develop social awareness

One-Sided Conversations

Ending a conversation with someone who has Asperger syndrome can be difficult since they often fail to notice indirect cues such as saying it’s getting late. They may continue talking about themselves and their interests with great enthusiasm. People talking to those with Asperger syndrome may be discussing one subject but not get feedback or answers to questions. Additionally, children and young teenagers with Asperger syndrome may talk obsessively about one thing for days or weeks without regard for what other people want to discuss.

How to develop social awareness

Resistance to Change

People with Asperger syndrome enjoy routine, and changes can provoke panic or anxiety. Even something as small as an item moved to a new location can be upsetting. Resistance to change can cause behavioral problems at school or work. When forced to deviate from their routine, children with the disorder may become visibly upset or refuse to accept the change. Often, this resistance lessens as the individual grows up. A dislike of change likely remains, but he or she learns more socially acceptable ways to deal with the issues, as well as coping skills for anxiety.

How to develop social awareness

Reduced Empathy

One of the classic signs of Asperger syndrome is an apparent lack of empathy, which makes navigating social situations difficult. Many people with Asperger’s cannot accurately detect another person’s emotions or understand their perspective. Consequently, they often misinterpret social situations or conversations involving sadness, grief, or other intense emotions. For example, a child with Asperger syndrome might not understand why they are being chastised for laughing or talking loudly at a funeral.

How to develop social awareness

Easily Overstimulated

People with Asperger syndrome often feel overstimulated in social situations. Although they may want to talk to others about themselves or favorite topics, interacting with people is stressful. The individual might laugh or cry when feeling overwhelmed, or exhibit another outburst of emotion. Because they often feel drained after gatherings, people with Asperger might be reluctant to meet other people due to the exhausting demands this places on them.

How to develop social awareness

Limited Interests

People with Asperger syndrome tend to focus intensely on specific areas of interest. A child may be obsessed with rocks, dinosaurs, or astronomy, and it can be difficult to pull him or her away for other pursuits. The interest may be replaced by something else eventually, but some people maintain these passions throughout their lives. In the best-case scenario, these interests lead to advanced study of a topic and jobs they enjoy. Because of this focus, people with Asperger syndrome often develop in-depth knowledge of their favorite subject.

How to develop social awareness

Lack of Eye Contact

Lack of eye contact can be an early sign that a child has Asperger syndrome. Because social cues do not come naturally, a child with the disorder may avoid looking directly at those with whom he or she is interacting. This avoidance further interferes with their comprehension of nonverbal signals other people understand when engaged in social activities.

How to develop social awareness

Failure to Make Friends

Children with Asperger syndrome may have difficulty making friends due to their unfamiliar social tendencies. This, combined with the emotional toll social interactions may make on a child, can significantly affect friendships. Additionally, the intensity with which children and adolescents focus on a single hobby or topic of interest can make it hard to find mutual interests. Sometimes, children with the disorder are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or another mental health disorder. Consequently, they do not receive the appropriate type of treatment and continue to experience social anxiety and may be ostracized at school.

How to develop social awareness

Delayed Motor Skill Development

Most children with Asperger’s do not experience delayed motor skill development, but some may have stilted movements that prevent the normal development of motor skills. Hand-eye coordination issues can make it difficult to catch and throw a ball, hold a pencil, or learn to ride a bike. They may have decreased proprioception, the ability to know where their body lies in space. This can lead to problems with balance. Parents can help their children overcome problems with motor skills by practicing these activities and remaining patient and encouraging.

What Are They?

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional, Learning (CASEL), social-emotional learning (SEL) is “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Social awareness and relationship skills are two of the five components that make up CASEL’s model of SEL.

Social awareness involves the ability to understand and empathize with others, particularly with people from different backgrounds than one’s own.

A white teacher whose students are from a different cultural background than her own makes an effort to get to know students’ families and communities and their unique strengths. Recognizing that she is always in learner-mode, she practices cultural humility by questioning her assumptions about social and ethical norms, beliefs, and expectations.

Skills that develop social awareness include:

  • Showing understanding and empathy for others
  • Identifying social cues (verbal, physical) to determine how others feel
  • Predicting and understanding others’ feelings and reactions
  • Practicing empathy, including perspective taking
  • Recognizing individual and group strengths and differences
  • Using reflective listening to understand and demonstrate respect for others
  • Recognizing and using family, school, and community resources
  • Demonstrating cultural humility
  • Awareness of inequities and privileges that affect individuals and groups

“Relationship skills” is the ability to build positive relationships, especially with diverse individuals and groups, using a variety of methods such as active listening, and communication and conflict resolution skills. These skills also include the ability to resist pressure and to seek out and offer help.

A middle school principal, knowing that a harmonious work environment will ultimately benefit the students who are closely watching how the staff interacts with each other, strives to build a supportive school culture. At staff meetings, she brings in practices that cultivate trusting relationships such as gratitude, conflict resolution, forgiveness, and play.

Relationship skills include:

  • Cultivating connection and friendship
  • Developing positive relationships with diverse individuals and groups
  • Practicing listening and communication skills
  • Working cooperatively
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Offering and seeking help
  • Applying appropriate uses of humor
  • Approaching relationships with positive presuppositions
  • Managing and expressing emotions in relationships, respecting diverse viewpoints
  • Resisting inappropriate social pressures

Ultimately, social awareness and relationship skills are closely linked. For example, resolving a conflict with a colleague (relationship skills) is made easier when both parties can empathize with each other (social awareness).

Why Are They Important?

Teaching and school leadership are demanding jobs, to say the least. Yet research shows that cultivating social and emotional skills can help lessen burnout and turnover and increase job satisfaction in both teachers and principals. In addition, these skills can also help improve relationships with students, leading to higher academic achievement.

More specifically, studies have found that school staff members with social awareness and relationship skills can have tremendous impact on schools and students. For example:

What Are They?

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional, Learning (CASEL), social-emotional learning (SEL) is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

Social awareness and relationship skills are two of the five components that make up CASEL’s model of SEL.

Social awareness involves the ability to understand and empathize with others, particularly with people from different backgrounds than one’s own.

A history teacher cultivates students’ empathy by encouraging them to “put themselves in the shoes” of people on opposing sides of history to help them understand both how they came to their views in the first place and why certain decisions were made.

Skills that develop social awareness include:

  • Identifying social cues (verbal, physical) to determine how others feel
  • Taking others’ perspectives
  • Demonstrating empathy and compassion
  • Showing concern for the feelings of others
  • Understanding and expressing gratitude
  • Recognizing strengths in others
  • Identifying diverse social norms, including unjust ones
  • Recognizing situational demands and opportunities
  • Caring about and being motivated to contribute to the well-being of one’s family, friends, school, community, the environment, and the greater good

“Relationship skills” is the ability to build positive relationships, especially with diverse individuals and groups, using a variety of methods such as active listening, and communication and conflict resolution skills. These skills also include the ability to resist pressure and to seek out and offer help.

To encourage teamwork in lab groups at the beginning of the year, a chemistry teacher has students practice positive communication skills such as listening, conflict resolution, and cooperation.

Relationship skills include:

  • Initiating contact with others and cultivating friendship
  • Sharing one’s thoughts and feelings (appropriately)
  • Communicating effectively
  • Developing positive relationships
  • Demonstrating cultural humility
  • Practicing teamwork and collaborative problem-solving
  • Resolving conflicts constructively
  • Approaching relationships with positive presuppositions
  • Resisting negative social pressure
  • Resisting stereotypes
  • Standing up for the rights of others
  • Showing leadership in groups
  • Seeking or offering support and help when needed

Ultimately, social awareness and relationship skills are closely linked. For example, when students attempt to resolve a conflict between themselves (relationship skills), the process is made easier when both are able to empathize with each other (social awareness).

Why Are They Important?

Overall, research reveals time and again that students with social and emotional skills perform better academically, have stronger relationships with peers and teachers, experience greater well-being, and engage in less risky behavior. In addition, SEL skills positively impact education, employment, and mental health outcomes into adulthood.

More specifically, several components of social awareness and relationship skills show the following outcomes:

How to develop social awareness

Starting the school day with a check-in, encouraging a culture of kindness, and inviting students to explore their feelings through art are just three simple ways teachers support social-emotional learning (SEL). Incorporating social emotional learning in the classroom is vital to teaching students how to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, and make responsible decisions.

Social-Emotional Learning Skills

Social-emotional learning is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills, according to Understood. It comprises five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Students who master these skills tend to do better in school, attend college, get a full-time job, and have less emotional distress.

Emotion Management

When students are stressed, overwhelmed, or excited, they often act out, disrupting activities or disobeying rules. When they understand how their emotions drive their behavior, however, they can express how they feel in more acceptable ways, according to We Are Teachers.

Self-awareness and self-management are key to managing emotions; the former helps students recognize their emotions, and the latter helps them regulate their emotions. Students who have these two skills are able to recognize their strengths, develop a growth mindset, control impulses, and set goals, according to Understood.

Goal Setting

To set and achieve goals, a student must understand their limitations and strengths in specific subjects, such as math. After setting goals, the student will have a greater opportunity to grow and turn their limitations into strengths, according to CASEL.

Their behavior also needs to be goal-directed. Students must initiate tasks to act on their goals and be persistent in completing them. Teachers can encourage this type of goal-oriented behavior in the classroom through various assignments and activities, including:

  • Filling out a pie chart of strengths and weaknesses
  • Writing a narrative essay on goals and how to achieve them
  • Expressing goals for the day at the start of each class meeting


Students develop empathy, or the ability to understand and share in another person’s feelings, through social awareness. Seeing things from a peer’s perspectives, appreciating diversity, and respectfully interacting with others are a few skills students need to practice empathy. For example, students who gain a better understanding of a person who is culturally different from them have a higher chance of empathizing with their experiences.

Empathetic students show tolerance and cooperation, accepting different opinions. Relationship skills are another important aspect of empathy. Consistently acting in socially acceptable ways—knowing when to be quiet, share something, express thoughts in class, etc.—builds relationships and fosters empathy.

Responsible Decision Making

To make responsible decisions, people need to consider the consequences of their behavior. Taking personal responsibility for their actions allows students to weigh their decisions first, considering how they affect others.

To build these skills, students need to learn from previous experience and accept responsibility for their actions. For example, if they choose not to study for an exam and get a low grade, they can gain insight from that experience when they use SEL skills.

Social-Emotional Learning Outcomes

A two-decade study found that students who are taught SEL skills experience numerous positive outcomes, including better behavior. Students who begin SEL in kindergarten are 54% more likely to get a high school diploma and two times as likely to graduate college than those who don’t. They also experience fewer disciplinary incidents, increased attendance, and improved grades, according to Understood.

Integrating Social-Emotional Learning Into the Classroom

Teachers implement multiple strategies to foster social emotional learning in the classroom. These approaches use evidence-based practices, incorporating SEL into every part of the school day.

Social Teaching Practices

Social teaching practices involve:

  • Student-centered discipline
  • Teacher language
  • Responsibility and choice
  • Warmth and support

To emphasize responsibility and choice, for example, teachers can focus their instruction on a student’s emotional intelligence, wherein the goal is for students to understand and respect themselves and others.

To use teacher language and exhibit warmth and support, teachers can begin the morning by asking each student about their day. In this way, teachers demonstrate that the classroom is a safe space for students to express thoughts and feelings.

Educators can also raise awareness of the various skill sets that SEL entails by asking questions such as:

  • “How can you make sure your group work is fair?”
  • “How can you make sure your classmates and teachers understand what you are saying?”
  • “When working in a group, how do you make decisions?”
  • “How do you keep moving toward a goal when you are stressed or lose focus?”

By asking questions that relate to decision making, managing emotions, and setting goals, teachers are modeling SEL skills and allowing students to reflect on them.

Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Online

Ordinarily, instructors would teach SEL skills in person, in an actual classroom. However, with the current global pandemic, most teachers no longer have this option. Educators can still teach SEL online, however, and it’s more important than ever for students to have SEL skills. Online teachers can:

  • Read fiction aloud and ask students to reflect on characters’ SEL skills
  • Send daily “good morning” notes to students
  • Have students check in on classmates and ask if they need help
  • Remind students to follow guidelines to help reduce risk to themselves and others

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What Are Social-Emotional Skills?

Social-emotional skills are essential for connecting with others! They help us manage our emotions, build healthy relationships, and feel empathy.

Some examples of social-emotional skills in use are:

  • Recognizing if someone is sad, and asking if they’re ok
  • Expressing yourself with your friends in a different way than with your parents
  • Understanding your thoughts and feelings, and being able to relate to others

While these skills may sound complex, social and emotional development begins at a very young age.

Social-Emotional Skills: Know the Basics

When does social and emotional development begin?

Babies start learning these skills from birth! As soon as they begin interacting with the people who care for them, they begin to develop an understanding of feelings.

How do parents impact social-emotional development?

Parents help to nurture social-emotional skills so kids develop healthy relationships with friends and family members. Even as a baby, your little one is picking up on how you respond to their social and emotional needs. They feel safe at home and in your presence. They learn how to empathize, respond to the emotions of others, and say “I’m sorry” by following your lead.

What do social-emotional skills help kids do?

Kids with healthy social-emotional skills are more likely succeed in school, work, and life. Social-emotional skills help kids:

  • Make friends and keep friendships
  • Gain confidence
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Manage stress and anxiety
  • Learn social Norms

” >norms

  • Make appropriate decisions
  • Resist negative social pressure
  • Learn strengths and weaknesses
  • Gain awareness of what others are feeling
  • How long does it take to develop social-emotional skills?

    Social-emotional growth takes time. Early experiences with family, caregivers, and peers greatly impact social and emotional development, but throughout our lives we will continue to be shaped by our experiences! These experiences can include meeting new people, overcoming difficult situations, or even raising children.

    How to develop social awareness

    Social-Emotional Abilities

    Is your child meeting their social-emotional abilities?

    Be on the lookout for these abilities as your child grows. They are encouraging signs that your child is making progress in their social and emotional development.

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    Developing social-emotional skills can boost your child’s confidence and help them succeed in school, work, and life.

    Missing one or two abilities should not cause alarm, as every child develops differently. However, if they are missing multiple abilities, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.

    Social-Emotional Tips

    What you can do to help your child’s social-emotional development

    • Be a model of the emotions and behaviors you want your child to show. You are your child’s first teacher and they look up to you as a role model.
    • Be responsive to your child’s emotions and behaviors. Responding will help to develop trust between you and your child.
    • Ask open-ended questions, such as “What would you do?” to help develop problem-solving skills.
    • Use stories to talk to your child about different social situations and how each person might be feeling.
    • Encourage kids to try new things and learn how much they can do.
    • Play games to teach kids how to take turns, win and lose, share, and negotiate.
    • Ask your child questions when they are upset. These questions can be about why they are upset, or offering alternatives to understand the root of their unhappiness. For example, “Would you like to brush your teeth or take a bath first?”
    • Sit with your child when using a screen (not recommended before 18 months) and make it a social activity, e.g. asking them questions or playing turn-taking games.

    Social-Emotional Activities

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    How to develop social awareness

    What to Watch For

    How to address social-emotional issues and delays

    The sooner your child receives help in developing their social-emotional skills, the better off their health and well-being will be. Your healthcare provider may be able to help you address the issue or refer you someone who can help. Here are a few examples of specialists who may be able to help your child:

    • How to develop social awarenessChild psychologist
    • Social worker
    • Neuropsychologist
    • Psychiatrist
    • Occupational therapist
    • Speech-language pathologist
    • Developmental and behavioral pediatrician

    Social-emotional learning is gaining traction in schools all over the world, and with good reason. Its effects have been shown to nurture valuable personal and academic skills in our learners. These include things like better concentration, improved collaborative and interpersonal abilities, higher levels of self-awareness, growth mindset development, lifelong learning, and more. How, then, can you bring these same social-emotional learning benefits into your own classroom?

    The key to social-emotional learning lies in awareness—awareness of the self, of others, and of how we are all connected. In an effort to help bring this awareness to your learners, we present the following social-emotional learning activities you can use with them every day.

    10 Social-Emotional Learning Activities for Awareness

    According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), there are five defining aspects of social-emotional learning:

    • Self-awareness
    • Self-management
    • Social awareness
    • Relationship skills
    • Responsible decision-making

    These 10 activities cover all of these aspects in one way or another. All of them are simple to get started with and have been implemented with great success by teachers from all walks of life. Use them with confidence and watch your social-emotional learning endeavours flourish.

    1. Morning Check-In: There are many ways to do this, but starting the day with a connection to mood and personal headspace goes a long way in teaching students self-awareness. Here are some examples:

      • Greeting: A simple way to acknowledge every learner who comes in the door. Always address them by their name along with the greeting, as this creates a more personal moment of connection.
      • Emotion check: Ask students how they are feeling today, and pay close attention to the feelings behind their responses.
      • Use a mood chart: One simple way is to ask them where they are in terms of colour. Red=I’m stuck and confused, yellow=I’m unsure or feel okay, and green=I’m excited and ready to go.

    2. Motivation Presentation: This activity involves pairs of students working together to build teamwork and collaborative skills. Each pair must create a three- to a five-minute presentation on something that interests them. Leave time for questions from the rest of the class at the end.

    3. Anchor Charts: Anchor charts are charts you make with your learners that capture the most relevant points—or, anchor points—of what you are learning. They are visual tools that help reinforce learning in creative ways and are also a great way to exercise decision-making skills.

    Pro-tip: Explore hundreds of examples and additional information on how to make your own anchor charts at We Are Teachers.

    4. Circle Share: Students create a small circle and share something important to them. Commit to rules that encourage safe sharing and a place of support. This activity builds social interaction capacity, self-awareness, and confidence with self-expression.

    5. Class Meetings: Holding regular learner-organized class meetings builds autonomy and develops leadership skills. It’s a great way to ensure all students feel their ideas and concerns matter. Every week, have students organize and lead a meeting to discuss what’s working and what they feel needs tweaking in the day-to-day classroom affairs. Encourage open sharing, and cast votes to ensure students feel they have a say in how the classroom is run.

    6. Role-Playing: A great exercise for multiple skills, role-playing using real-life scenarios always strikes a chord with kids. Your learners can develop storylines, write dialogue, rehearse scripts, and then use their role-playing presentations as teaching tools for their peers or even for younger or older students.

    7. Goal Setting and Progress Tracking: Encourage students to keep tabs on their academic growth by keeping a record of how they improve and what they accomplish over the month of the year. They can set their own learning goals and milestones, thus creating agency over their progress and a higher sense of responsibility for continued learning.

    8. Kudos Board: Our kids are very observant, and creating an atmosphere of support through recognition and appreciation keeps them motivated and happy in class. Place a board in your class where learners can post positive feedback for peers on something they did, something they heard them say, or something they appreciate about another person.

    9. Reflective Writing Using Prompts: This activity is like journaling, and can give many learners a voice when they have trouble speaking up or expressing themselves verbally. Give students regular times to either write freely about what’s on their minds or have them use prompts like these:

      • Today I was proud of myself because …
      • I was anxious and stressed today because …
      • When was I at my best and worst today?
      • How would I describe myself as a friend?
      • Overall, I feel _____ about today because …
      • If I could talk to my future self, I would say …
      • One thing I wish others knew about me is …
      • What can I learn from my mistakes today?
      • If I wrote the words I need to hear most, what would they be?

    Pro-tip: Find other journalling prompts at Daily Teaching Tools, enough for every day of the school year.

    10. Closing Moments: This is a powerful and often inspiring way for students to end the day or the week. Each student in turn expresses:

      • something they have an appreciation of
      • something they want to apologize for
      • an “aha” moment they had
      • something they are worried or confused about

    Now that you have a solid list of social-emotional learning activities to use, it’s time to get going with them. As always, we’re here to help in any way we can. In fact, we have a parting gift for you that you’ll find goes well with these suggestions, and that’s the Growth Mindset Poster.

    The growth mindset ties in directly with the qualities of social-emotional learning, especially self-awareness. You can use this comparison between fixed and growth mindsets to spark conversations and remind yourselves to keep learning, growing, and believing in possibilities.