Mother reading a book indoors with her son

6 ways to support children’s social and emotional development

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Many parents don’t realise that social and emotional growth plays an important role in preparing children to succeed inside and outside the walls of a classroom. It helps them form positive relationships with their family, peers, and other people. Developing a child’s social and emotional skills also enhances the way they express their thoughts and feelings while also contributing to the development of  compassion and empathy. 

As a parent, it’s crucial to find effective approaches to support your child’s social and emotional development. This may mean encouraging your child to express themselves and teaching them to be responsible by assigning small tasks at home. The educational institution you choose to enrol your child in can affect their social and emotional growth, too. That’s because a huge part of this growth takes place during early childhood

If you want to learn more about how you can take an active part in your child’s social and emotional development, read on.

Choose the right preschool programme

As mentioned previously, selecting the right preschool can lay the foundation for a child’s success. Ideally, you should pick one with programmes that integrate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into their curriculum. You can find different institutions in Singapore with such a focus on children’s social and emotional development, one of which is Kinderland, which has multiple campuses throughout the city-state. 

When doing your research, inquire about how teachers incorporate SEL principles into daily activities. You may also want to check your prospective institutions’ social media pages to learn more about their programmes. In the case of Kinderland, their posts on Instagram about recent school events give you a glimpse into the kind of activities students are involved in. If you want to see the teachers and students further in action, consider visiting Kinderland’s YouTube channel as well. 

In addition to the school’s curriculum, check the preschool’s teacher-student ratio. Ideally, it must be low to facilitate a more personalised approach to teaching and to foster meaningful connections among the students. 

Establish a routine

At home, you can support your child’s development by establishing routines. Craft a daily schedule that includes predictable mealtimes, play sessions, and bedtime rituals. It will help children feel safe and their anxiety will be reduced if they know what to expect in their daily lives. Having routines also contributes to emotional regulation. With a consistent schedule, children learn to anticipate transitions and activities. This makes it easier for them to manage their emotions and helps prevent meltdowns or emotional outbursts.

Validate your children’s feelings

Part of nurturing a child’s emotional intelligence is validating their feelings. Start by encouraging them to express what they’re feeling. Then, be sure to acknowledge and respect the emotions your child expresses, whether positive or negative. Use simple language to convey that you understand their emotions. You can use phrases like “I see that you’re feeling…” or “It’s okay to feel…” These reinforce the idea that their emotions are valid and respected. 

Encourage sharing

Sharing is a crucial social skill that children need to learn. It sets the foundation for positive interactions. As parents, you can employ practical strategies to guide your children through this developmental milestone. When playing with others, encourage them to take turns. Make sure to emphasize the joy of playing together and taking part in each other’s games. It’s also a good idea to use positive reinforcement when they successfully share. Praising their efforts and highlighting the positive outcomes of cooperation can help encourage the behaviour.

Give children small tasks

Even if your child is young, you can introduce the concept of responsibility. Give them small tasks around the house like putting away toys, setting the table for meals, or helping with simple chores. When you ask them to do something, remember to provide clear instructions. Then, praise their efforts when they complete a task. This instils a sense of accomplishment and teaches the importance of contributing to the family and the community. Just take note that you need to be patient and continue guiding your child through the tasks. Gradually, your child will develop a sense of responsibility.

Teach them to apologise

Aside from teaching your child responsibility, you must also impart the value of an apology. Apologising teaches them accountability and empathy. So when they’ve made a mistake or hurt someone’s feelings, encourage your child to apologise. Guide them to use simple language like “I’m sorry for…” and help them understand the impact of their actions. 

Additionally, it will help your children develop the skill if you model sincere apologies in your interactions with each other and with other family members. Demonstrate the importance of taking responsibility for mistakes. Consider showing them the value of making amends through a kind gesture or by correcting the wrongdoing. 

In your child’s early years, their social and emotional development forms an important aspect of how they view the world. Fostering these skills also prepare them to succeed beyond academics, but in different aspects of their lives as they grow up. Consider these different ways you can support your child’s overall growth. By investing in the well-being of children, you help create a future generation that thrives in empathy and has a deep understanding of themselves and the world around them.

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