There are several different areas of development that we foster through the learning experiences at Sparkles, and social-emotional is one of them. Social-emotional development helps children know who they are, what to expect from other people and what they are feeling. These concepts will help your child form healthy relationships build self-confidence and learn empathy. Social-emotional development impacts all other areas of development — motor, language and cognitive development are all influenced by your child’s self-esteem and ability to express emotions and ideas. Here is what social-emotional development looks like for different age groups and how you can help your child’s development at home.
Birth to One Year
Babies are learning from the moment they are born. They begin to learn who they are by how they are treated in everyday interactions from their parents, caregivers and relatives. Telling babies things like “You’re so smart,” and “I love you,” from the start helps shape their self-esteem.
To foster babies’ social-emotional development, it’s important to provide responsive care. Responsive care means altering your caregiving in response to what your child does. For instance, if your baby picks up a napkin and holds it in front of his or her face and drops it, you can respond by engaging in this game of peek-a-boo.
It’s also important to be nurturing and patient. Babies go through issues like colic, fussiness and teething, so comforting them and being patient makes them feel safe and makes them more able to self-soothe as they grow.
One Year to Two Years
Toddlers at this age are just beginning to develop self-awareness. As they begin to understand that they are independent and separate from other people, they also begin to develop empathy. Kids at this age begin to become more interested in their peers, but they are still playing alongside their friends rather than with them.
You can support your child’s social-emotional development at this stage by encouraging age-appropriate problem solving. For example, let your child try to figure out how to put on his or her own shoes. If your child becomes frustrated, give a little assistance like showing him or her which foot each shoe goes on. You can help your child learn to resolve conflicts by providing support when toddlers are playing together. You can visually demonstrate how to share and comfort children who are having difficulty sharing.
You can also positively impact children’s self-esteem and confidence by developing daily routines. Try to do the same things at the same times daily and let your child know what activities are coming up throughout the day.
Two Years to Three Years
Older toddlers have a better sense of self-awareness by age two. They begin to play more interactively with peers, rather than alongside them. Between the ages of two and three, children will engage in much more pretend play, which helps them build social skills, thinking and language.
By age two, most children can experience empathy. Children work on building skills like taking turns and sharing during this time period, and they begin to become advanced with those skills as they near age three.
You can encourage children’s social-emotional development during this time by helping them understand their own feelings. You can do this by naming your child’s emotions. For example, you could say something like, “You are feeling sad and angry that you can’t play with the puzzle right now. I know it’s hard, but we have to wait until we finish snack to play with puzzles.” Give children just enough help when they’re feeling frustrated with a task, but don’t do things for them, as this can lead to even more frustration.
At Sparkles! we care about all aspects of your child’s development, which is why we offer a comprehensive curriculum designed to foster creative, confident thinkers. For more information, contact a Sparkles! team member today. We’d love to talk about your child’s needs and how our programs benefit children at each stage of development.