As caregivers for young children, it is always important to understand the five learning domains that pertain to them. One of the five domains that will be focused on in this article is the social-emotional development of young children, understanding what it is, and how to enhance this development.
Social-Emotional Development includes; the ability to identify and understand one’s feelings, to recognize and comprehend the feelings of those around us, to manage your emotions in a positive and productive manner, the ability to control and regulate your own behavior, to develop empathy for other peoples situations, to establish and sustain meaningful relations with; friends, family, caregivers, educators, neighbors, and the communities in which we live.(www.nieer.orgresources/policyreports/report7.pdf.)
Although we are inherently born with the ability to; make friends, express anger productively, understand peaceful conflict resolution, follow rules, show empathy, or wait patiently, the understanding of these abilities come in developmentally appropriate stages and since these skills are imperative in order to become productive members of the communities in which we live, it’s important to understand how to guide children in creating these life lessons.
What we can do to model these behaviors for the children in our care, and guide them to understand their importance is encompassed by utilizing these strategies; providing responsive care, observing and assessing your child’s needs, supporting your child’s developing skills, delighting in your child’s discoveries, being affectionate and nurturing, guiding your child to feel safe and secure, establishing daily developmentally appropriate routines, making your home culture part of your child’s everyday life, choosing books and music that reflect your home culture and values, and helping your child become a confident problem solver. (www.zertothree.org.)
All of these strategies can and will be accomplished when we remember to: praise the process (not just the end result), assist children in exploring their feelings through play, aid children in expressing their feelings in developmentally appropriate ways, comment on what your child is doing in a positive manner, and actively involve yourself in their play by letting them take the lead.
How do we know that these strategies are working in a positive manner? Here are some key concepts; your verbal child should know; their name, age, gender, adapt to new situations, show interest in self-help skills, make notice of other people’s emotions, ask for help when needed, but also take initiative, and productively express strong emotions.
Most importantly is to understand what we can do as caregivers to lend a helping hand in this process, which includes the following, provide structure and daily routines, encourage independence, role-model positive behaviors, ensure and enhance social connections with peers, and create activities that allow children to be cooperative, patient, and gracious.(www.getreadytoread.org.)
For more information on Social-Emotional Development, check-out these web-sites: