Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022
If you ask most parents what they want for their children a majority will say they want them to be happy, well balanced and able to deal with whatever life throws at them. For them to meet these goals successfully their children will need have social and emotional skills.
Social-emotional skills are essential for connecting successfully with others, be they friends, colleagues or just the people we interact with on a daily basis. They help us understand and manage our emotions, set and achieve positive goals, build and maintain healthy relationships, feel and show empathy and make responsible decisions. So it’s not hard to appreciate why these are such crucial skills to master. Developing social and emotional skills are essential for effective collaborations and communication.
A person’s life experiences, genetic make up and temperament can affect their social and emotional development. As your child’s first role model you can send a very positive message to them.
Start by always being supportive:
- Love your child and show your affection for them, hugs and cuddles should be generous! Talk with them through the day, every day. This gives opportunities for active listening to develop, a skill many adults have difficulty with, but the ability to properly decipher and absorb information requires significant focus.
- Encourage your child to try new things. For some children this is really challenging but you need to persevere and try to help them see what they are capable of. Make sure you let them know how pleased you are with their accomplishments and willingness to try.
- Give your child opportunities to play. This will help them explore their world and get to know the people in it. Model kind and generous behaviours in these environments. Foster keenly the habit of sharing, as sharing can be a difficult concept for some, but it is a critical to a child’s social development. Similarly, play can help collaboration and cooperation develop. Children need these skills to understand that working in a group gives them the chance to express ideas and listen to the ideas of others.
- Help them learn patience as it is critical for many things, such as maintaining friendships and relationships and achieving big goals that can only be completed over an extended period of time. Help your child appreciate that good things often take time and encourage them into becoming a patient person. Patience really is a very rewarding social skill to have.
- Positivity is important and the easiest way to demonstrate it to your child is by modelling it! With a positive attitude your child will find it easier to make and keep friend, succeed at school and achieve their goals. The more positive you are about your child’s development, including their inevitable slip ups, the more reassured and positive they will become.
- Show your child that you think about other people’s feelings and emotions as an authentic display of empathy, so they can come to understand that you need to give empathy to get empathy. Validate their emotions when you see them showing them, “Oh I can see you are excited, I love that you are so happy to be doing this”…You should also acknowledge negative emotions too, “I know that must have made you angry, what can we do together to make you feel less upset”? This will give a direct example of how they can tackle empathy with others in similar situations when they arise.