Kind Mind
Creating Space

Creating Space

I believe that social and emotional learning requires more space, for everyone. Space to be ourselves. Space to create freely. Space to connect more deeply. Space to have healthy emotional expression.  Space to hold boundaries.  As educators, administrators, caregivers, and parents, holding all of this space for kids can feel stressful because we live in a scheduled world. So, how do we create space for social-emotional learning AND live in our scheduled world? This week we dive in and explore.  


Creating Space 


I don’t have the magic bullet for this one. My answer is a dramatic change in society, but that’s too much for one short blog post. I am still a work in progress when it comes to finding space, creating space, and letting go of the outside pressures of time, judgment, and expectations. One thing that I do know is that building awareness and acceptance (I know, I talk about these qualities a lot), feels like the first step. These qualities require continuous attention and nurturing, just to maintain. 


So, how can we nurture awareness and acceptance with little free time? 

  1. Slow down - Notice when you are rushing and move a tiny bit more slowly
  2. Connect to your breath and body - When you find a few minutes of quiet, step away from technology and just sit with yourself
  3. Tune into your emotions more often throughout the day - Ask yourself from time to time, how do I feel right now? 


Here are a few tips for parents and teachers on how you can build these foundational SEL skills with your kiddos. 

  • Take 1 minute in your morning circle or after breakfast to breathe together - 5-10 deep breaths are all it takes!
  • Take 2 minutes and invite each child to share with you how they feel in one or 2 words - this does not require conversation, simply share feeling words and move on.


NOTE: If a child expresses a difficult emotion, acknowledge rather than try to change it - difficult emotions are part of building resilience.  A great way to validate and normalize feelings is to say, “Thank you for sharing”.

  • Use the phrase, “just like you”,  when difficult feelings show up.

EXAMPLE: “Just like you, I also feel irritable and impatient sometimes. When I do, I try to remember that this is a healthy feeling that we all have.” 

EXAMPLE: “Just like you, I also feel out of place or like I don’t belong and it can be painful. Is there something that you love about yourself?”


Making a little space for this skill-building to happen naturally throughout your day can have a big impact.  These simple tips don’t require much time, yet build a strong foundation for self-awareness and emotional acceptance in your community (family or classroom). 


This week, create a little extra space in your day to build awareness and acceptance. Slow down, breathe, share how you feel openly, and remember that you are not alone when things feel hard.

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