The Power of Connection: Keeping Kids Connected and Boosting Emotional Well-being This Summer

As summer is in full swing, children have the opportunity to embrace the freedom and joy of the season. While adventures and playtime are essential, it’s equally important to prioritize connections with friends and the community. By nurturing these bonds, we not only foster emotional intelligence in children but also enhance their overall well-being.

Ways to help kids stay connected this summer:

Engage in Group Activities:

Encourage children to participate in group activities that align with their interests and passions. Summer camps, sports teams, art classes, or community programs provide fantastic opportunities for kids to connect with peers who share similar hobbies. Engaging in collaborative activities fosters teamwork, communication skills, and a sense of belonging, boosting emotional intelligence and overall well-being.

Plan Playdates and Social Outings:

Organize playdates or outings with friends in a safe and enjoyable environment. Whether it’s a trip to the park, a picnic, or a day at the beach, these social gatherings allow kids to strengthen existing friendships and cultivate new ones. Positive social interactions create a support network that nurtures empathy, self-expression, and emotional resilience.

Volunteer Together:

Encourage kids to contribute to their community through volunteering activities. Engaging in acts of kindness not only benefits others but also enhances a child’s sense of purpose and connectedness. Collaborate on volunteer projects, such as cleaning up local parks, helping at a food bank, or participating in community events. Through these experiences, children develop empathy, compassion, and an understanding of their role in making the world a better place.

Foster Digital Connections:

In today’s digital age, technology can be harnessed positively to facilitate social connections. Encourage kids to maintain communication with friends through video calls, messaging apps, or online gaming platforms. While moderation is key, these digital interactions can provide a sense of continuity and support, especially when distance or other constraints make in-person meetups challenging.

Cultivate Family Bonding:

Don’t underestimate the power of family connections. Engage in activities that strengthen the family unit and create lasting memories. Family game nights, movie marathons, or cooking together can foster a sense of belonging and emotional security. Encouraging open communication, active listening, and quality time strengthens emotional bonds and equips children with essential skills for building connections outside the family.

Nurture Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in healthy relationships and overall well-being. Encourage children to recognize and express their emotions effectively. Teach them active listening skills, empathy, and conflict resolution techniques. By equipping kids with emotional intelligence, they develop the tools to build meaningful connections and navigate social situations with confidence and compassion.

Helping kids stay connected this summer is essential for their emotional intelligence and well-being. By engaging in group activities, planning social outings, volunteering, fostering digital connections, nurturing family bonds, and cultivating emotional intelligence, children develop the skills necessary for building meaningful relationships. Let’s create a summer filled with laughter, support, and shared experiences that will leave a lasting impact on our children’s lives.

How to Find the Best EI Curriculum For Your School?

It is no surprise that in recent years there has been increased attention on the mental health of our students. As schools prepare for another year, it is important to take note of how you can better help your students, families, and staff. 

Why implement an Emotional Intelligence Curriculum in the classroom?

Emotional Intelligence promotes self-awareness, academic achievement, and positive behavior not only in the classroom but also out of the classroom. Many teachers have implemented some form of EI in the classroom in recent years.

93% of teachers believe EI has a place in the classroom and for good reason. EI helps students thrive but also helps create a more cohesive classroom environment through fewer disciplinary actions, increased academic performance, reduction in classroom disruption, and open communication. 

Why use an EI curriculum such as “My Best Me”?

Implementing an EI curriculum like “My Best Me” ensures best practices for the best results. Not only that, a good curriculum comes with good teacher support which helps take the stress out of planning and execution. A curriculum takes the guesswork out. 

How to choose the best curriculum for your school:

  • Consider the age: Many EI curriculums are written for a certain age group. For example, the “My Best Me” curriculum is written for students as young as preschool age, all the way up to high school. Other curricula may be written just for high school-age or elementary-age students.
  • Does it meet your budget constraints? Of course each curriculum has a cost attached to it and these costs must be taken into consideration when deciding which curriculum is best.
  • Does the curriculum come with support or training? It is important that teachers are supported when implementing new curriculum. Through training and teachers’ resources. “My Best Me” comes with not only teacher training but also provides teachers with everything they need to implement the lesson in their classroom.
  • Does the EI curriculum focus on what is pertinent to your school district and your families? Every EI program is unique and focuses on different topics. “My Best Me” for example focuses on Identity, Health, Community, Environment, and Economics.
  • Is the program evidence-based?

Children Playing

Emotional Intelligence is a Solid Investment

Many educators and parents will agree that Emotional Intelligence is important and should be implemented in schools. One of the more common barriers to entry is cost. The cost associated with a formal Emotional Intelligence program such as “My Best Me” can be challenging. So let’s break down the cost vs. benefit.

Cost Breakdown

Is Emotional Intelligence a wise financial investment?

Yes! Social Emotional Learning is a solid investment. A study from Columbia University found that an Emotional Intelligence program can have an average of 1:11 return on investment. Emotional Intelligence is not only an important investment for your students BUT also a good financial investment. 

Leveraging federal funds for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence may be a good investment but finding the funds to allocate to this investment can be tricky. The main source of funds for Emotional Intelligence is the Title IV-A block grant. This grant authorizes activity in three broad areas:

  • Providing students with a well rounded education (arts, STEM, computer sciences).
  • Support the safety and health of students (Emotional Intelligence, drug and violence prevention, physical education).
  • Supporting effective use of technology (devices to give access to technology and digital materials).

Benefit Analysis

Students benefit a great deal from EI

We know that Emotional Intelligence improves self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. All of these skills help students throughout their academic journey and promote long term positive outcomes. This ultimately results in greater graduation rates. 

When Hope meets Emotional Intelligence – Hope Rising Curriculum