Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Who, What and Why of Social Emotional Development

It is always exciting and heart melting when a baby learns to coo, laugh, say "mama and dada", crawl, walk,  learn to pick up cheerios with their chubby little fingers and we are so amazed at how fast they can learn new skills!

Each of these skills are different milestones and are part of a child's typical development. It is easier to identify what is normal development for areas such as communication, and gross motor, because these are skills you can observe your child do day to day.
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In addition to these milestones, it is essential for young children to develop Social Emotional skills. It can be easily overlooked, however it is important to find ways to to strengthen a child's social emotional development.  The following includes the who, what and why of social emotional development! 

The Who? 

From birth a child starts to explore the world around them. As they gain new experiences and start to connect with the people around them their social emotional development begins and affects them throughout their life. 

The What? 

Social emotional development are skills that increase self-awareness and self-regulation. A child's social emotional development includes their  experiences, expression, they way they manage emotions, and the ability to form positive and rewarding relationships with others

The Why? 

 "Research shows that social skills and emotional development reflected in the ability to pay attention, make transitions from one activity to another, and cooperate with others are a very important part of school readiness." Take a closer look here at the milestones for each age from birth to 5 years. 

How To Help Support A Child's Social Emotional Development

Here are some ideas from the American Academy of Pediatrics "Tips to Promote Social  Emotional Health Among Young Children" (PDF)
  • Model behaviors that you want to see in your child. Parents are their child’s first and most important teachers, and what they do can be much more important than what they say. 
  • Give choices when your child is oppositional (Would you like me to carry you upstairs to bed or would you like to walk?) 
  • Read with you child, turn off the TV before dinner, and have conversations with your child during meals, and bath time. Read books with your children in preparation for bed time. This will help to settle down and sleep well at the end of the day 
  • Provide routines throughout the day and regular bedtimes for your child. 
  • Catch your child being good! Praise your child often even for small accomplishments like playing nicely with others, waiting her turn, or being a good sport! 
Monitoring and supporting your child's social emotional development will not only help in school readiness, but overall how they face life experiences and build their resilience which will be a big help to them as they grow. 

If you have questions or concerns about your child's development and/or would like to track your child's development call 211 and ask for Help Me Grow or call our direct line 801-691-5322! 

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