Ways To Help Your Child Develop Social And Emotional Skills
Did you know that they way you behave around and with your toddler has a great influence on the development of cognitive, social and emotional skills in children1. Responsive parenting is one of the most important ways to promote healthy skill development while managing behaviours that are part of normal development. While your toddler grows towards attaining the developmental milestones, as a parent, you can also help him/her. Let us tell you how2 3
1.Talk To Your Child
Allow the child to express himself and make sure he/she listens to you too. It develops listening as well as language skills. You can read picture books to your toddler and talk about the illustrations.
2. Praise Good Behaviour
Give lots of hugs and kisses and praise when he/she is behaving well. When the child is trying to do something, encourage and praise them through the process and not just for the result. Parents should also be ready to firmly say no when required.
3. Encouraging Eye Contact
It is very important for parents to make eye-contact with their child and make him/her understand the non-verbal communication through eye expressions. Parents should also encourage the child to make eye-contact.
4. Encourage Art
Give your child crayons. Show them how to draw lines and circles. Not only does it help develop fine motor skills but also teaches kids to express themselves through different mediums.
1. Describe Emotions
Use words that describe feelings and emotions. While you are playing you can say “We are happy when we play together”. Children should be familiarised with their feelings and they should know how to express themselves.
2. Play With Puzzles
Help your child with puzzles, and play games with him/her related to identifying shapes, colours and body parts. Hide things and ask him/her to find it.
3. Encourage Words
Kids learn to point at things when they are just babies but as they grow then need to learn to call out names of things and people rather than point at them. So, ask your child to use words when they want something. Prompt them with suggesting the first sounds. For example, if he/she wants milk, you can prompt by making the “m” sound.
4. Create A Positive Learning Environment
Once toddlers start to walk, they can find themselves in places they had never seen before, even in the house. This new world can be surprising and scary at times, so make the house a positive learning space for your child. Declutter the place, remove dangerous objects and make it comfortable.
1. Encourage Empathy
Encourage your child to hug and play with other kids his/her age. Provide them with toys and encourage them to share it. Comfort them if they have trouble waiting for their turn and help them get involved in something else in the meantime.
Encourage your child to try to solve his/her problems on his/her own in a peaceful way. Sometimes kids don’t know the problem themselves so it’s important to help them understand it and find a solution.
Children lack self-control and want what they want, whenever they want it. Though we often let it go thinking they are kids, it’s important to teach them self-disciple. So, make a routine and set rules. If he/she breaks the rule, give 1 min time out but don’t scold or yell.
4. Concept Of Personal Space
Toddlers are curious about everything and can often touch, lick, hug anything without any concern for what it is or who it belongs to. It’s important to teach them that some things are off limits. Visual cues and actions work best for kids, so you can play games about staying in a certain area. You can also ask them to spin in a circle with their arms outstretched. Tell them that the space within the circle is theirs.
1. Encourage The Habit Of Sharing
When your toddler is with other kids, stand aside and observe whether he/she lets others play with his/her toys. At this age, your child probably has a strong sense of ‘my things’. Hence, it’s important that you encourage him/her to let others play with the toys. After a point of time, he/she won’t mind sharing.
2. Being Cooperative
Children need to understand that everything can’t go according to their wish. There’ll be times when they’ll be required to cooperate with you or their peers. One way to develop this skill would be to encourage your child to participate in team games. Help him/her cooperate with others to win the game.
3. Following Social Rules
At this age, it’s difficult for your child to behave according to social rules like greeting elders, responding if someone’s questioning him/her etc. So, whenever such a situation arises, prompt your child with something like “say hello to uncle.”
1. Right VS Wrong
A lot of times, your child’s understanding of right and wrong depends on your reaction – whether you scold or praise him/her. Hence, this serves as a good way of teaching your child about what’s wrong and what’s right in different social situations. For example, discouraging him/her when he/she pushes a friend to get ahead in the line.
2. Accepting Failure
Children tend to have an extreme emotional reaction like throwing toys or not talking when they don’t win a game. You need to make them understand that losing is a part of life. Shift their focus to how they can improve in order to win next time.
3. Listening Skills
Encourage your child to listen and pay attention when someone’s talking to him/her. This will also help your child to have more meaningful conversations.
1. Understanding Body Language
Body posture, facial expressions, movement of hands and legs etc. play a huge role in social ethics. Enact different body language situations and ask them to guess what you are ‘feeling’. For example, if you are turning your face and body away from him/her, it probably means you are not interested to play and therefore, he/she shouldn’t force you to play.
Teach your child to say ‘I’m sorry’ if they mistakenly hurt someone or ‘thank you’ while receiving a gift. Prompting works well in this case too. After some time, it’ll become a social habit.
3. Having A Meaningful Conversation
Listening forms a major part of a conversation. Every day, you can choose a topic to have a long conversation with your child. Encourage him/her to listen, think and come up with a response to what you say. If he/she starts wavering from the topic, bring his/her focus back to the topic.
Research shows that 90%1 of the brain development happens by the age of 6 which makes this time very important for your toddler. Though these activities may help your child learn social and emotional skills, it’s only one half of it. Proper nutrition plays a very important role in a child’s physical and cognitive development. DHA is an important building block of the brain but it’s availability in food sources is very scarce, even more so in a vegetarian diet. Junior Horlicks2,3 can be a big help here since it has DHA and other important nutrients such as Choline, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Iron and Iodine.