What is social emotional development?
Social–emotional development includes children’s experience, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others (Cohen and others 2005).
It encompasses both intra- and interpersonal processes, it has to do with a large range of skills but not limited to: self-awareness, joint attention, play, theory of mind (or understanding others’ perspectives), self-esteem, emotion regulation, friendships, and identity development.
Strong social and emotional development underlies all later social, emotional, and academic success. Young children who develop strong early relationships with parents, family, caregivers, and educators learn how to pay attention, cooperate, and get along with others. They are confident in their ability to explore and learn from the world around them.
A person’s life experiences, genetic makeup, and temperament can affect their social-emotional development. As your child’s first role model, you can send a positive message to them through various modes, thus building their socio-emotional development.
How to support children social and emotional development
- Love your child and show your affection for them. Hug, cuddle, read, and talk with them throughout the day.
- Encourage your child to try new things. Help them see what they are capable of doing. Let your child know you are pleased with their accomplishments.
- Give your child opportunities to play with other children of their age. Help them explore their world and get to know the people in it. Model kind and generous behaviors when interacting with other adults and children.
- Show your feelings. Let your child see when you are happy or sad,this will help them to develop empathy for others.
- Establish daily routines. Your child will feel confident and secure. They will learn that events can happen in an organized way. Create routines that are predictable but flexible.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Help them talk about what they feel and how they are feeling. let them know it’s Ok to cry that things will be better afterwards, Comfort your child when they are upset. Hold them and speak softly and calmly.
5 Strategies to Promoting socio-emotional development
- Be a good emotional role model
Children model their behavior from people they admire, when caregivers model a variety of emotions and coping strategies to manage their emotions, children learn appropriate ways to react in similar circumstances.
- Read books with social-emotional plots
Reading emotional books such as ‘grumpy birds or ‘the way i feel’ and any other emotional books can provide opportunities to learn and discuss social-emotional topics, such as turn-taking and cooperation ,asking children to label and explain the emotions of the characters in the story helps them learn a variety of emotions
- Give choices
Providing children with choices builds their emotional skills, a parent-child relationship that involves working together to solve problems teaches children how to negotiate and solve problems with parents, which later leads to improved social skills and higher acceptance in relationships with peers (Matte-Gagné, Harvey, & Stack, 2015).
- Use positive discipline strategies.
Setting rules and expectations for behavior, giving warnings of potential consequences, offering praise and incentives for positive behaviors and ignoring unwanted behavior are associated with higher levels of social-emotional skills (LaRosa, Ogg, Suldo, & Dedrick, 2016), to make it more fun let the children make the rules. When children act out, discuss the effects of their behavior on others to promote empathy, perspective-taking and prosocial behavior (Eisenberg, VanSchyndel & Hofer, 2015).
- Coaching on a spot;
Coaching children on the spot of their action helps them to realize what they are doing, or have done, understands how their action affect others and chose positive actions for example Bella and Ronnie was playing with the moon sand in the messy play area, Ronnie grab the play funnel from Bella and Bella went to sit at a corner looking upset. Ms dawn crouches down at Ronnie’s level to look into his eyes; calmly and warmly she says ‘’Bella was still using the funnel when you took it away from her, what could you do to make Bella feel better? Ronnie then says sorry and gives back the funnel to Bella, Ms dawn then said to Ronnie; next time if you want to play with the toy your friend is using could you ask if he would like to share? Ms dawn follow up by observing Ronnie and providing immediate positive feedback on his desirable behavior