Our “I Am My Child’s First Teacher” resource page was developed to help parents take ownership of their children’s formative years. This blog series, paired with short accompanying videos, is meant to highlight fundamental areas in which parents can take an active role in their child’s early development and help prepare them for school.
Social skills are important for every child to develop early, especially from ages one through five, as they are laying down the foundation for future success. Building social competency in early experiences influences a child’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. Parents can be proactive in developing their child’s social competence early on by talking to them, describing things as you do them, acknowledging and even implementing their ideas, and engaging them in various learning activities.
At Educate Midland we understand teaching your little ones to pick up social skills and communicate well is a big task. That’s why we’ve chosen to highlight some of the most critical skills and how to implement them effectively.
Sharing, as any parent with multiple children will surely know, is a vital skill to learn early on. It’s something that should be taught early on as children start school, go on playdates, or attend childcare. The willingness to share a toy or snack can go a long way in helping kids make and keep friends. Studies show that children who share feel good about themselves, so teaching them to be a better sharer will also boost their confidence. A simple way to teach your child this skill is to praise them after they’ve done it and talk to them about how it makes them, and others, feel. Saying something like “You chose to share your toy with your sister. I bet she feels happy about that. That’s a very nice thing to do.” Doing this regularly will help strengthen their perception of good sharing and turn-taking.
Cooperating means working together with others to achieve a common goal. Kids begin working alongside others at around the age of 3, so it’s important to instill good behavior early on. Encouraging good cooperation skills enables them to contribute, participate, and respect those around them, making cooperation a critical skill. Try teaching them this skill by talking about the importance of teamwork and how things get done better when everyone helps. You can even create opportunities for the whole family to work together, whether it’s assigning a specific job when making dinner or selecting chores that are integral to the family.
Listening isn’t just about staying quiet; it’s about really absorbing what someone else is saying. Listening is a critical component of communication. After all, a lot of the learning process in school depends on a student’s ability to listen and understand the information that a teacher gives them. Strengthen your child’s listening skills by reading them a book and periodically stopping to ask them what you’ve read so far, or to share their favorite parts. Help fill them in on any gaps they’ve missed and encourage them to keep listening. Encouraging them to become an active listener will empower growth, help process information, and better interact with their surroundings.
Understanding and showing empathy is the result of many social-emotional skills that develop in the early years of life. Children who understand how others feel are more likely to feel connected to others and form positive bonds and friendships. Empathizing is to actively listen to others, recognize emotions, and provide an appropriate response. Parents can teach empathy to their child by talking about different situations and scenarios in their lives and then asking how others may feel in that situation. This will help them build stronger relationships with other children and educators, positioning them well for learning.
Visit our resources page
Educate Midland has included resources on our website to ensure parents, students, and educators can find the educational information they seek. Visit our new website to find resources regarding “I am my child’s first teacher,” ways to assist in early childhood development, and much more. Together, we can make a difference in our children’s education.