This month, let’s take a closer look at the Social-Emotional Domain, focusing on social development.
Social development is the process through which children learn to build relationships. It involves learning the values, knowledge, and skills necessary to understand how to get along with others.
Everyday experiences at home support children’s developing social skills. Families give children their first opportunities to communicate and build relationships. As an adult family member, you also model for your child how to effectively and respectfully interact with the people around you.
Here are some great ways for you to promote Social Development at home:
- When interacting with your infant, get down to their level so you can make eye contact. Connecting visually is an important part of meaningful interactions.
- Babble and talk to your baby. Don’t forget to pause so your baby can respond with a smile or a coo!
- Involve your infant in your daily activities. This allows you to model how to interact with others in respectful, positive ways.
- Arrange playdates so that your child can interact with other children. Encourage your child to address others by their names.
- Give your child lots of positive reinforcement when they play respectfully with other children.
- Encourage your child to use words such as “stop” or “no” when someone is doing something they don’t like. Talk to your child about how it is better to use words than to hit.
- Model and encourage cooperative behavior when you play and interact with your child.
- Model the caring and empathetic behavior that you want your child to learn. For example, hug someone if they are sad and talk about why this is a kind thing to do.
- Give your child words they can use when they want to join a group play activity. For example, “I see you want to play tag with your cousins. You can go ask to join the game.”
- Encourage your child to be the first to greet a friend when they see them. Provide positive feedback when your child exhibits this behavior.
- Talk to your child about their friends. Ask them questions about their friends’ personalities and interests. Emphasize that when you are friends with someone, it’s important to learn about them and take part in their interests.
- When your child has a conflict with a peer or sibling, allow them the opportunity to resolve it on their own. If the problem persists, ask your child if you can help in any way.
Here’s a great resource about how to support Social-Emotional Development at home:
Next month we’ll focus on Physical Development.
Miss the most recent article in our series? Read it here.