How Educators Can Help Families Support Their Children’s SEL Development

Books, Games, and Videos: Activities to Help Families Support SEL Development at Home

By Aperture Education’s Senior Research Associate, Jennifer Robitaille. Before joining Aperture Education, Robitaille worked with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. She has worked extensively on both the DECA and DESSA.

Magic happens when students love learning and recognize that learning is a lifelong process. Parents play a pivotal role in promoting children’s learning and social and emotional development. But many parents today juggle a number of obligations. Educators can lend a helping hand to families to ensure learning continues at home. These engaging books, games, and videos teach families about social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies and encourage them to practice and reinforce these important skills. Downloaded a printed version of this blog.


Reading can be a powerful way to improve children’s academic success, strengthen family relationships, and promote SEL. There are many wonderful books that teach students about emotions and social interactions. Below are few titles to share with families.

  • The Feelings Book,by Todd Parr: Sometimes I feel silly. Sometimes I feel brave. This book helps babies and toddlers learn about emotions. (Access a video narrative of this book.) 
  • The Mad Family Gets Their Mads Out, by Lynne Namka, Ed. D.: A boy has a bad case of the “mads.” His parents take him to see a nice lady who teaches him how to play out his anger and express his feelings appropriately. (Access a video narrative of this book) 
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by Carol McCloud, Illustrated by David Messing: Everyone has an invisible bucket. We are happy when our buckets are full and sad when they are empty. Parents can teach kids how to fill others’ buckets with kindness, appreciation, and love. (Access a video narrative of this book)
  • My Mouth is a Volcano!, by Julia Cook, Illustrated by Carrie Hartman: Louis has very important thoughts, and he has trouble keeping them contained — they come out like a volcano! (Access a video narrative of this book) 
  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are, by Maria Dismondy, Illustrated by Kim Shaw: Lucy is teased by a boy at school because she is different. Will she make the right choice when the boy needs her help? (Access a video narrative of this book) 
  • Hello, Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas: Newberry Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s tale about unexpected friendships teaches kids that it’s ok to be different.


Family game nights are one way to teach children SEL while enjoying time together away from screens. Games teach many important social and emotional skills including cooperation, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking. The games listed below focus explicitly on SEL.


Short videos can be an effective way for busy parents to learn about SEL and get ideas for teaching their children these important skills. Encourage families to explore the wealth of SEL video resources available on platforms like YouTube and Bing. Below are a few.

  • Exploring Feelings — Adventures in Learning (PBS Parents): Talking to kids about their feelings and having them journal about their emotions can be a fun way to teach SEL. Parents can watch this video to learn how journaling promotes SEL and strengthens connections among family members. 
  • Why Do We Feel Emotional? (Little Kids. Big Questions.): Do we choose our emotions? Are they in our DNA? This video explores emotions through the responses of children. Parents can watch this video with their children as a way to start an SEL-driven conversation around emotion.
  • Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions?: It’s tough to be a kid. This video is told from a kid’s perspective and talks through the importance of managing emotions in kid-friendly terms. Families can watch this video together and then share their own experiences and strategies for managing strong emotions. SEL doesn’t just happen in the classroom. There are many fun ways families can develop social and emotional skills at home. Encourage families to get inspired with these SEL books, games, and videos. Interested in learning more?

Contact our SEL advisors at Aperture Education for additional ways families can teach SEL at home.