The skills you teach your child today, impacts their tomorrow.
Teaching your child socio-emotional skills are vital for success at school. It all starts at birth when you hold, cuddle and talk to your baby and continues with you being kind, showing empathy, responsive, respectful and fostering age appropriate independence.
What does this mean? It is the things you do everyday with your child. When you change his diaper- you are talking, looking at your baby and engaging with him. When your child shows you a toy or drawing, you talk about it.
You teach your child respect by showing them respect. For example, if she does not say hello when you meet your neighbor, do not force your child to talk. Respect her wish that she does not want to speak at that moment. You could say 'Julie will speak when she is ready to'. This shows you are understanding your child's feelings.
I remember visiting a friend who had just had a baby. I gave her older daughter, age 30 months, a small toy as a gift. The child did not say thank you. The mother was so embarrassed as she urged her child to thank me. The child refused and the mother put her upstairs in time out. It was an awful situation. I wished I had not given the toy, the mother was very uncomfortable with her child's behavior and the daughter was screaming upstairs. Terrible! Looking back, the child was coming to terms with a new baby in the house. The mother was not thinking about her child's needs and emotions at that time.
Talk about emotions. State what you see. Say to her, "You look sad today, can I help you?"
If you ask them why they are sad, they may not answer you. Children find it hard to express themselves and will tend to ignore questions. I remember, on countless occasions, asking my kids about their school day and they shrugged their shoulders and said nothing! State what you see.
Encourage safe exploration and age appropriate independence. If your child is struggling to tie their shoelaces, acknowledge that shoelaces are difficult by saying, "You are trying so hard with those, they can be tricky. It takes lots of practice." Or "Let me know if you need help." If your child succeeds he will feel proud of himself with his accomplishment. If he does not succeed, he knows this task is difficult and he can practice again. It is a win win situation and your child's self esteem will increase.
Strong social emotional skills improves confidence, form good relationships and helps communicate emotions. It is the foundation for behavioral issues.
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