When a child is born, they enter into the world with a unique set of personality characteristics that they carry with them throughout life. While some children are naturally easygoing, others struggle with regulating their emotions. Learning how to interact socially with others is also a normal part of childhood, and it is our job as adults to provide young children with the tools they need to thrive socially and emotionally as they mature. Early childhood is the perfect time to start modeling appropriate emotional regulation because they are very open to learning about how to get along with others. Nurturing a young child’s social and emotional development provides them the lessons needed for them to grow up to be positive members of their family and community.
Manage and Express Emotions In An Acceptable Way
Newborns cry when they are hungry or in pain, yet young children gradually lose this instinct once they are able to communicate their needs. Some children, however, need additional help to learn how to deal with strong emotions such as anger, fear, or even happiness. For this reason, early childhood social and emotional programs aim to teach children how to identify what they are feeling first. Then, young children can be taught socially acceptable ways to deal with their feelings such as how to use deep breathing to calm down or using their words to communicate disappointment.
Connect With Others Through Shared Conversations
Anyone who has ever sat down with a preschooler knows that they can dominate a conversation. Alternatively, a shy child may sit quietly and not know how to start a conversation. Teaching children how to introduce themselves to new people and engage in shared conversations is an important principle that they will use throughout their life. As children progress in their ability to hold a conversation, advanced communication skills such as active listening and how to answer open-ended questions come into play.
For a child to have healthy social development, it is also necessary for them to feel good about themselves. Some children have a low sense of self-confidence due to personality traits such as shyness, while others may struggle with self-esteem for more serious reasons such as a past history of abuse. Either way, it is essential for these children to participate in social activities in a positive environment that rewards their efforts at socializing with praise. Children this age also thrive when they are provided with activities that bring out their best work such as painting and playing games with a group.
In classrooms today, social and emotional activities often get overlooked due to the increased emphasis on academic subjects such as reading and math. However, social skills transfer to every aspect of a child’s life, and a child who is confident enough to ask questions in class or participate on a group project is more likely to find success. By focusing on nurturing the social and emotional needs of young children, parents and educators can ensure that no child gets left behind due to an inability to control their emotions or make new friends.