Are you a parent and are wondering what is the right way to work on your child’s upbringing? Do you want to ensure that you work on their development from a very young age so that they don’t face problems later in life? If that is the case, then you should know social development is one of the most important aspects of early childhood.
Social development in early childhood refers to a process in which children learn new things from each other and their surroundings. They develop the right skills to interact with each other, form relationships, and create a sense of self. Also, through social development, children can identify their behavior, which is vital for a healthy relationship before they get into formal schooling.
Effective social development also plays a crucial role in shaping the personality of individuals, and as a parent, you need to know how it could impact your kid. If you’re unable to determine the social development aspect for your kid, in this article, we will explore the importance, approaches, and benefits of social development in a child’s life.
Importance of Social Development in Early Childhood
Social development in early childhood is essential because it forms a child’s experience from a very young age and helps them easily navigate different moments and situations in life.
- Helps Develop Language Skills
When parents ensure that their child’s social development is being worked on, their kid will be able to develop good language skills from a very young age. As they spend time with educators and children their age, they will learn to interact, improving their communication skills. Their speech will become more precise, and their vocabulary will also become extensive. With improved language skills, their reading and learning power will also increase.
- Improves Self-Esteem
When children are part of a group where they can interact openly, they will form their own identity where they love themselves and are confident about what they speak. Being a part of the social development process will encourage them to have meaningful interactions and form a group of friends where they can express their minds and interact with each other in a fun manner.
- Encourages To Try New Things
As social development encourages children to try new things, parents should also support their efforts and help them through the process. After the children return from school, parents should sit with them, discuss different topics, and allow them to push their boundaries so they are interested in trying new things. Certain achievement milestones should be set, and educators and teachers should monitor them to motivate them.
Ways to Strengthen Social Development in Early Childhood
- Display Positive Behavior
Did you know that the best way children can learn new things is by observing others around them? If you’re working as an educator or are a parent, then it is essential to make sure that you behave and react positively around them. Ensure they learn from your positive social interactions and avoid negativity because they will immediately catch onto any negative behavior. This way, the children will pick up the positive aspects as well as work on them.
- Teach Social Rules
In their very first class, as a teacher, you must teach proper social rules and provide clear expectations about behavior in class. While explaining the social rules about interaction and questioning, make sure you are not rude but friendly. Explain the desirable class behavior and help them practice the rules. If you want children to remember the social rules, you can make a chart and display it while you regularly revise those rules with them.
- Work on Communication Skills
Good communication skills are the key to improving social development in children, as you need to have a chat with them and observe how they think. Check their understanding of different topics by listening to them and asking them questions to see how well they respond. Remember that communication skills are not only about how a child speaks but also focus on how they think and behave. If their behavior and thoughts are positive, their thinking will automatically become positive.
- Provide Play Opportunities
Encouraging children to develop social skills through play will help them explore their feelings and thoughts without being unrestricted. For example, you can ask your students to interact with other children in the class and communicate with them. This way, they will develop self-discipline and also learn new things through play. Moreover, educators can involve children in fun activities or use their imagination to make games more interesting. Other than that, play opportunities include sharing feelings and developing a sense of empathy.
- Enhance Emotional Literacy
To enhance emotional literacy among children, educators and teachers can help them increase awareness of which emotion they are feeling and what might be the reason behind it. For example, if the child is crying, sit with them and ask what made them feel that way. Other than talking about maintaining proper body language. Once you have educated the child on emotions, observe their behavior and praise them if they behave well. As children always copy actions by looking at others, it is vital always to manage your emotions in front of them.
- Focus on Conflict Resolution
Always try to make sure that you talk to children politely and positively and solve the issues that they are facing. Instead of throwing tantrums, breaking things, or yelling in front of other students, they should know how to explain their situation. Choose a good time to talk to them, like when they are in a good mood. Listen to the children so they feel that their opinion is being valued, and plan ahead about how you will deal with them. As each child has a different nature, teachers will have to focus on not saying anything that will hurt the kid even more.
- Engage in Group Activities
When students are part of a group activity, they will be able to communicate with each other and gain confidence about how to speak in a group and make their point. To enhance social development, teachers can first form small groups to test students and then, later on, form larger groups once they gain enough skills. When engaging students in group activities, ask them about their interest in games, a favorite book they like to read, and a story they would like to listen to.
- Use Engaging Stories
Young children usually have a shorter attention span to keep them entertained, and teachers will have to use engaging stories. Story-telling can be an excellent tool for social development as children will use their imagination to create the scenarios. Engaging stories should have a twist and a positive message that motivates the children and makes them learn a lesson from the story that has been narrated. Children can also be encouraged to tell their own stories in front of the class by bringing their toys or pet to class.
Benefits of Social Development in Early Childhood
The benefits of social development in early childhood include:
- Social Development Encourages Independence
When proper social development is provided to young children, they can do things as they like. If you want to encourage children’s independence, start by giving them small responsibilities such as cleaning the table, putting back the chairs after class, and throwing trash in the dustbin. When children start performing these small tasks by themselves, they will slowly learn to do other tasks. While teacher supervision is essential, there are times when students should be made leaders and take control of the class when the teacher is away. By doing this, students will develop a sense of responsibility and leadership.
- Social Development Improves Mental Health
Encouraging children to socialize from a very young age will improve their brain function and cognitive health. When children interact with their class fellows and friends daily, it will reduce loneliness. Also, they will be able to comfort each other and form a strong bond. As staying alone for an extended period of time can be difficult, social development can lighten children’s moods, make them feel happy, and enhance cognitive skills. Even if children do not have the ideal environment at home, teachers at school will be able to contribute to their positive mental health.
- Social Development Enhances Learning Abilities
Social development also aids in enhancing children’s learning abilities because when children are in school, they are more engaged in activities along with their peers. They not only perform in a better manner but focus on their goals effectively. Moreover, children become more confident and work better in a group setting. Once the children have managed to learn the basics, they will eventually get better at learning things in life and will be able to speed up their learning process.
How to Encourage Social Development in Children?
If you, as an educator or a parent, want to encourage social development in children, it is vital for you to adopt some positive ways and strategies as they will help you throughout the way.
First, there should be a great emphasis on parents and teachers sharing a positive relationship with the children. When they have a friendly and encouraging attitude, even the children will be willing to learn new things, such as language development, engaging in social activities, and learning new words.
Moreover, children should be given their own space to learn and develop with time, and even if they make any mistakes, they should not be punished but handled with love, care, and a respectful attitude.
The social development of children in early childhood is an essential aspect of a child’s growth and development, and it should not be ignored. Teachers and parents should build positive relationships, encourage activities, and apply new learning strategies and techniques. We hope that through this article, both educators and parents were able to learn the importance of social development in early childhood and will apply the same methods to the children they care for.