Healthy social-emotional skills are the foundation for all future development. Researchers have narrowed the sensitive period for all social-emotional development to be between birth and age 6. This means that young children depend heavily on adults to help them experience, control, and express emotions.
Supporting a child’s social-emotional development requires time, patience, and consistency. Through patience and consistency a child can develop nurturing relationships and know what is expected of her. Taking advantage of everyday routine interactions and play are the best way you can build healthy social-emotional relationships with your child, and teach him the skills he will need for all later learning. Here are a few tips on what you can do with your child to support his social-emotional development.
- Follow a bedtime routine. Bedtime rituals can relax a restless baby and ease the transition from day to night.
- Let your toddler feed himself. It builds self-esteem, confidence, and increases fine motor skills.
- Take time to listen and acknowledge your child’s feelings. It will help her understand it is okay to talk to you about anything.
- Encourage exploration. An infant interacts with her environment through movement. Her self-esteem increases as she develops confidence and competence with her body in motion.
- Be your child’s “toy!” Make funny faces, play “peek-a-boo,” and sing to your child.
- Build problem solving skills. Read repetitive nursery rhymes, talk about the pictures in books, and ask questions like, “what do you think will happen next?”
- Help your child stay on task by talking about what you’re doing as you do it. This promotes “self-talk,” a child’s private dialog that reminds him what to do.
- Take care of you! If you run out of energy, you won’t have anything left to give your child. Taking care of you is taking care of your whole family