As Halloween approaches we wanted to discuss how you might be able to include SEL into your Halloween festivities. Halloween is a great time to practice many SEL skills with our kids and students. We can use this time to discuss the importance of sharing, listening to our parents about safety, self-awareness of our own fear, and communicating with others about our costumes.
Sharing is an important part of SEL – although it has faded a bit due to Covid and the Flu, it is still important to teach sharing skills to our kids and students. Sharing helps kids practice social awareness and can help build relationships with friends and peers. Sharing also helps build self-control, by understanding that sometimes we need to wait our turn to pick the candy from the bowl. Understanding the importance of sharing can also help kids understand the joy that comes from being nice to others – such as making our friends smile because we offered them our extra kit-kat while trick or treating. For some more ideas on how to practice sharing skills using cooperative game play check out this resource by The Inspired Treehouse.
Listening skills are an important part of SEL and an important part of Halloween celebrations. Although many families now do trunk-or-treating, some still do the classic door to door trick-or-treating and with both of these comes the issue of listening and safety. This is a great time to practice ways to be safe for halloween. You can talk to your kids and students about what safety looks like, how to cross the street, where the boundaries are, and the importance of not running away from the group. For more safety tips this Halloween check out this resource by SafeKids.org.
Halloween can be a time of creativity and fun, but it can also bring up feelings of anxiety and fear. This is a great time of year to discuss self-awareness and how to be mindful of our own emotions and reactions to something that might be scary or anxiety provoking. You can use this time to help students pause and reflect on scary costumes, how that makes them feel and then practice recovery strategies from that fear. Check out this SEL activity on fear and anxiety that My Learning Tools created.
Halloween is also a great time to practice our communication and social skills. Halloween gives kids a chance to not only practice these skills with other kids, but with adults too as they get asked about their costumes and favorite candies. This is also a great time to practice communicating our feelings – such as fear and anxiety or even anger that another person is in the same costume. Use this holiday to help your children and/or students to communicate their emotions, speak nicely to others, and practice their social skills in general. Check out this resource by Positive Psychology for more ideas on how to practice communication skills.