Humans are social creatures, and there are many benefits to learning about and focusing on socialization from the time babies are infants. From as early as six weeks of ages, babies can recognize familiar faces and produce social smiles, and abilities grow in leaps and bounds during the first year. What better environment to support social and emotional development than a high-quality childcare center like the Breakie Bunch? In this post, we’ll look at why it’s so important to engage children in situations that enhance their social and emotional development.
One note before we get started: Many parenting frustrations come from not knowing appropriate developmental milestones for their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. This table outlines social and emotional behavioral milestones from birth to age 4 and is immensely valuable for great childcare.
So, what are social and emotional skills anyway?
According to Psychology Today, “the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning has identified five core skills that are widely recognized as critical social-emotional skills:
- Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your emotions and understand the links between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
- Self-management is the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
- Social awareness is the ability to take other’s perspectives and demonstrate empathy.
- Relationship skills are the ability to build and maintain healthy relationships.
- Responsible decision making is the ability to make good choices about your behavior and interactions with others.”
Developing these various social and emotional skills have important outcomes not just immediately, but even later in life. This study, Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness, found that higher social-emotional skills in kindergarten led to better performance as young adults “across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.”
In our childcare center, we take pride in helping children develop wholly by having developmentally appropriate targets for respective age groups. Here is what we focus on in terms of social-emotional development for each age group:
Infant childcare: Caregivers also provide a safe and caring environment for your child to explore their surroundings and develop relationships with them and other children. Each child is engaged through play, reading, singing and talking throughout the day. The atmosphere stimulates positive growth and development and your child will build language, motor, and social skills while exploring the world around them.
Young Toddler Childcare: For children ages 1-2 who mostly engage in parallel play, we begin introducing more of a routine to their day, eating snack and lunch together at the same time, taking nap together as a class, and doing activities in the same order throughout the day. Our young toddlers love the opportunities to explore new things as they are offered many different avenues to explore the world around them.
Toddler Childcare: Ages 2-3, this is when children really start to emerge from their egocentric nature and begin learning how to manage their emotions and relationships with other children. As such, this is a huge focus in our toddler childcare. We provide lots of opportunities for socialization and independence alike through play and hands-on activities.
Preschool Prep: For our curious, excited, fun (!) 3-4-year-olds, we focus on being responsible, and we practice sharing, taking turns, using manners and following directions. We also use words to resolve conflicts in a warm and loving environment.
Preschool: In this classroom, the focus is all on practicing the social and emotional skills needed for Kindergarten. We encourage children to express their feelings, moods, and opinions in a healthy way, and we learn to respect others. Preschoolers also practice developing the ability to make good choices in childcare where they are comfortable to experiment and explore.
Interested in helping your child grow their social/emotional skills at our childcare center? Contact us to learn more.