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Photo: Monkey Business Images (Shutterstock) Many first-time pandemic parents are worried: Are their children are on-track with their social and emotional skills? With the world in lockdown mode for the better part of two years, many babies born in or after 2020 have missed out on the usual playdates, birthday parties, music classes, and other opportunities for frequent socialization with their peers—times they would normally be developing lifelong social skills. But the good news is, there are ways parents can develop and bolster social-emotional learning from day one. What is social-emotional learning? “Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children develop the critical skills of empathy, communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, and emotion management,” says Tia Kim, Ph.D ., vice president of education, research, and impact at Committee for Children . “These life-long skills prepare kids to build and maintain positive relationships, excel academically, make responsible decisions, and collaborate in the workplace.” Why is social-emotional learning important for kids? While social-emotional skills can be learned and taught throughout a person’s life, research has found that kindergarteners who were stronger in SEL competence were more likely to graduate from high school, complete a college degree, and obtain stable employment in young adulthood. “We know children’s social-emotional development is critical to their life success,” says Dr. Kim. “A 2017 research study found that SEL benefits children for months and even years, including a 13-point increase in academic achievement, positive attitudes and social behaviors, and a decrease in likelihood of conduct […]