What is social awareness?
Social Awareness is an aspect of Emotional Intelligence which encompasses key life skills such as empathy, compassion and understanding of relationships. A strong sense of social awareness means one can effectively use these skills to accurately read situations and people because they are able to understand and empathise with their emotions.
Why Young People Need Effective Social Awareness
Developing the core skills of social awareness is valuable and allows for increased control of their social and emotional wellbeing. This development is most successful at a young age through a combination of traditional school-based education and curriculum-aligned programs designed to supplement the learning of children through various SEL activities and exercises.
As adults, we often take our life skills, learned throughout the years, for granted. These are skills that we use every single day, yet most of the time we only learn these skills way after entering adulthood - where it’s often forgotten to pass these skills onto our children. Children are experiencing situations on a daily basis where they don’t have coping skills to deal with whatever is thrown their way and that's why it’s even more important for us to put an effort into instilling these skills in them.
Benefits of effective social awareness are:
- It allows you to form strong friendships and relationships.
- It promotes compassion and empathy when interacting with others.
- It helps to understand strengths and weaknesses.
- It improves social and emotional wellbeing.
So how to start introducing social awareness skills to your child?
Here's 3 Strategies to Improve Children’s Social Awareness
Challenge Your Child to Understand Everyday Situations
When your child has witnessed you having a conversation with another person or family member, discuss it with them. Then ask what they noticed in terms of language, body language, and facial expressions which were exchanged over the course of the conversation. This can be a good exercise to show children how when you treat people with respect it is likely reciprocated.
Teaching a child to understand nonverbal cues can give them an idea of how certain words and reactions can make others feel. By developing this sense of empathy, it becomes easier to form social interactions between peers as well as friendships more successfully.
Encourage Children to Participate in Group Physical Activity
Giving your children access to yoga classes is a great start, whether it be at school or at home with others. Yoga provides fundamental movement, flexibility as well as improving coordination and energy levels.
Being a non-competitive exercise, with an ethos which requires you to ‘leave your ego at the door’ it creates an environment where confidence can be built, independent of others. These ideas of self-acceptance and spatial awareness give children the skills to manage stress and anxiety, while also being compassionate towards their peer’s strengths and weaknesses.
For more information on how to get yoga into your child’s school see our student programs.
Be a Role Model
When demonstrating that you can show compassion and empathy towards others as a respected caregiver, this is the best possible reason for a child to follow suit. In their formative years, such a strong example can not only positively reinforce emotional intelligence but also help children understand that adults too make mistakes. No one is perfect and when children know this, they can then learn to develop this empathy with parents and teachers as well as peers - which is invaluable.
Effective social awareness is not only a key building block of emotional intelligence, but a fundamental aspect of human interaction particularly moving through adolescence. It is important that such life skills are learned when children are young so that the overall opportunity for social, emotional and physical wellbeing is maximised.