8 ways for adults to model social emotional learning at home

MHA Admin

Tue, 09/06/2022 – 09:56

By Katie Lee, MHA Deputy Director of Communications

With children going back to school, it is crucial parents and guardians support the mental and emotional well-being of youth as they continue to grow and learn. MHA recently hosted a webinar led by Mestisa Gass, program director for MHA of Hawaii, where she discussed the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) for the mental health of school-aged children.

What is SEL?

SEL is the process through which an individual acquires and applies knowledge and skills to develop a healthy identity and includes emotional regulation, empathy, and interpersonal skills. For those new to SEL, there are four key competencies to keep in mind: awareness of self and other people; positive attitudes and values; responsible decision-making; and social interaction skills.

How can you model good SEL care at home?

Based on Gass’ presentation, here are eight tips for incorporating SEL into a child’s home life.

1. Take care of yourself.

Gass said, “Showing how to [practice self-care, coping skills, and resiliency] as an adult to the children in your life is really important because they get to see that people enact it, people can ask for help, people can take the time they need, and they feel more confident when they need to do that, as well.”

2. Be a good listener.

With busy schedules, choose a time to check in with your child, whether that’s at dinnertime, on the way to or from school, or before bedtime.

3. Model the behavior you want to see.

For example, practicing calming breathing techniques in front of a child allows them to ask questions and join in to learn what to do when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

4. Nurture the child’s self-esteem.

Remember that adults come from a different generation than today’s kids. Gass said, “It’s important to also step back and think about the cultural values that you have around … self- identity and self-esteem.”

5. Respect differences.

Understand that every child has strengths and weaknesses. One may excel in math, while another is better at drawing.

6. Praise effort instead of ability.

Talk about effort rather than outcome. For example, don’t focus on whether they placed first in something, and instead talk about how they tried their best.

7. Discuss relationships and friendships.

This is an opportunity for a child to learn interpersonal skills and boundary setting within their own social circles, but also a great opening to show them what healthy relationships look like.

8. Help child maintain their physical health.

“Physical health is directly related to our mental health,” Gass said, and used the example that a child missing a nap or snack will make them irritable. Help children understand the connection between their bodies and how they feel.

From these SEL tips to incorporate with your child(ren), Gass said to “choose something simple” to get going rather than trying to implement each of these from the start and become overwhelmed. Learn more by watching the full webinar, and find more youth mental health resources in the MHA 2022 Back- to-School toolkit.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

Follow Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center's success:

Sign up to receive updates


Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: