We can all remember a time when our parents urged us to go outside and play with our friends. It was a part of life when we were young. Most times it was so that we would get out of their hair; if only for an hour or so. But, do you think for one second our parents thought “Socializing with your friends will give you a brighter future”? I know mine didn’t; as my friends weren’t all that bright.
But it’s true! Early childhood socialization is integral for developing the skills we need to be successful in life. All of those times you pretended that the jungle-gyms’ wood-chip ground was lava with your friends – you were actually developing skills associated with creative problem solving and communication.
It’s hard to believe that a game I played on my mothers’ old couch did so much for me. But then I think about the amount of time I spent explaining the game to my friends. It was more than a game. It was an introduction to public speaking.
Not only does socialization during early childhood form these types of skills, but it’s also vital in forming our “Social Functionality”- or our ability to live and operate in a social setting. Studies have shown that children with poor socialization skills are less likely to form healthy intimate relationships as adults, more likely to experience peer rejection, and have a higher likelihood of running into trouble either with the juvenile or adult legal system.
It doesn’t stop there either. Poor socialization skills can hinder academic performance, put a child at greater risk of depression and low self-esteem, and make it hard for them to understand empathy for others.
Early childhood socialization is important; especially during this time when children’s minds are the most malleable. This is the time they should be pushed to try new things and to enjoy the company of friends. Who knows? A play date could make all the difference.
Speaking of play dates; did you know that Sparkles! offers Social Clubs for children in addition to our childcare services? Visit our Social Stars Club page for more information!