Promoting Healthy Social-Emotional Development in your Child
What is healthy social- emotional development? Social emotional health is ability to form secure relationships, express and regulate emotions, understand feelings of self and of others as well as having academic success. So many parents and people in society always push academic success and strong cognitive development. The thing so many people don’t factor in is that successful emotional and social development can lead to academic success, cognitive skills and a motivation to learn.
Social emotional health includes the ability to express and regulate emotions, develop positive relationships, confidence and security in self and as being part of a group, and manage daily social interactions. Social emotional health is so important and so often downplayed. I see so many children, unless they are center of attention or on a device, that do not know how to regulate play, cooperatively play or even be social with other children or adults.
How do we foster, develop and raise children with a strong sense of self and have strong relationships with adults, caregivers and other children? We need to be positive and supportive of children’s feelings starting with infancy. Being affectionate, talking to, reading to and modeling emotions help children understand emotions. Identify, name and talk about feelings.
So many children don’t understand or are not taught it is ok to express their feelings. When we teach children about feelings and emotions and teach them how they feel and what they mean it will help them as they get older. This also helps them how to regulate and understand their feelings in the array of different circumstances life throws at all of us. Raising socially emotionally healthy children hopefully means a society of confident, secure and happy adults.
Social emotional development at home and in schools starts with a positive environment, predictable daily routines and encouraging children to be part of their decision making processes throughout the day. Children who help in their decision making process and have a daily routine really learn how to self-regulate as they know what to expect and it helps them become accountable for their behavior as well as making them adaptable.
Giving children constant positive social emotional opportunities to learn from is so important. There are many books you can get to help with the valuable lessons and verbiage to support positive social emotional development.
Some books include but are not limited to;
•Glad monster , Sad monster by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda
•My many colored days by Dr Seuss
•Today I Feel Silly by Jaime Lee Curtis
•The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
•The way I feel by Janan Cain
In the preschool environment which you can use on very young children are pictures of facial expressions for emotions. Just like hospitals and doctors use pictures to express pain level-these show facial expressions for feelings. This is a great tool to teach kids to recognize their own as well as other facial cues to situations in regards to feeling. You can buy facial expression cards or even print coloring pages. As children get older you can have them draw their facial expressions or even show you what different feelings feel like using a mirror.
Social Emotional Health has also made its way into the pixar movie Inside Out. That is a movie about emotions where each emotion is characterized by its own individual character. The emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust, sadness and joy are all represented in this movie. This movie another great tool for parents to bring up dialogue with their children about emotions.
Secure, positive and loved children grow up to be secure adults that can foster healthy social-emotional kids in the future.
Children with positive social and emotional skills throughout life typically, according to research, are more successful in school and in all their personal relationships. Parents and caregivers need to be loving, affectionate and supportive in the daily activities of children to give them the skills to understand, manage and resolve conflict in a positive manner.