How to promote social-emotional development in young children

As children grow, they develop various skills that help them navigate the world around them. These skills are essential in shaping our children’s overall outlook on the world and how they interact with others.  

Developing social-emotional skills from a young age helps children be self-aware, and teaches them responsibility, understanding their own emotions and regulating them. 

“Social-emotional development supports teaching our scholars how to recognise and deal with their feelings which in turn helps to influence a child’s self-confidence and empathy,” says SPARK Kempton Park Principal Chenay Wessels. 

Wessels adds that these skills help children develop meaningful and lasting friendships and partnerships. It also builds a sense of importance and value to those around them. 

“We have seen the positive impact of developing scholars’ social-emotional awareness; this has had a direct positive impact on the children’s academic performance. Children can form meaningful relationships, express their feelings, internalise them, and develop confidence,” says Wessels. 

There are several ways that parents can help develop social-emotional skills at home. 

Create a safe space for your child to share their feelings 

At home, create an environment where your child can freely speak to you openly about how they feel. Expressing their emotions at home will encourage them to share how they feel with others. 

Acknowledge your child’s feelings 

When your child shares how they are feeling about a particular incident, whether it is a disagreement with a friend or a situation at home, it is essential that, as a parent, you acknowledge and validate their feelings. 

Encourage your child to try new things

Whether trying out a new sport or making a new friend at school, encouraging your child to try new things can develop their social skills. Trying new things can take your child out of their comfort zone and boost their confidence. 

Work with your child on rewards and consequences

Learning to be responsible and accountable for their actions is an essential social skill every child needs to know. One of the ways you can teach your child responsibility is by having a rewards and consequence system. If your child does something well, you can reward them.

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