The Skills That Matter The Most for Kids

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

You want your child to become a happy, successful and good adult. But what does that mean? What are the types of character skills you should be nurturing in your child? You know, the competencies that really matter?

I present to you the CASEL framework!

It’s the basis of our classes at Quirkpod and the most widely used framework in K12 schools around the world. The CASEL framework describes the five key areas for your kid’s social, emotional and productivity skills, attitudes, and behaviors.

1. Self Management

Self management is the ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts and impulses. Kids who have strong Self Management skills manage stress and strong emotions, can keep themselves disciplined as they seek to achieve a long term goal, and have strong organization skills.

2. Self Awareness

Self Awareness is the ability to recognize one’s feelings and skills, and their effect on one’s life. Can your kid accurately evaluate her strengths and weaknesses? Can she identify how she feels in certain situations and how these feelings make her act? Does she have a growth mindset that allows her to continue to develop her skills, behaviors and attitudes?

The CASEL Framework Wheel

3. Social Awareness

Social Awareness is the ability to be empathetic to others, respect the diversity of their experiences and recognize the effect of their community on themselves (and vice versa). Kids who have strong social awareness can resolve conflicts, take different perspectives and often consider their communities (family, friends, school) when they make decisions.

4. Relationship Skills

A kid with strong Relationship Skills has the ability to not only maintain long lasting relationships, but healthy ones too. They are strong communicators who can identify their needs and others’, work within teams and in leadership positions and clearly evaluate the effects of a relationship on their well being and actions.

5. Responsible Decision Making

Responsible decision making is two fold: critically evaluating situations and then making constructive choices. Does your kid evaluate his biases before making judgements? Does he take on challenges with a problem solving mindset? Does he make choices based on his values, not on peer pressure or convenience?


While knowing these skill areas is the first step towards understanding your kid’s social, emotional and intellectual strengths and needs, it’s not enough! You need to create situations where your kid can develop and practice these skills, as well as reflect on them - they ARE the skills that matter. But it can be hard - between kids not wanting to “let you in”, their school work and their afterschool programs, these skills take a backseat.

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