2 minutes reading time (384 words)

Developing and strengthening social skills

Making friends. Showing anger in a healthy way. Figuring out conflicts peacefully. Taking care of someone who has been hurt. Waiting patiently. Following rules. Enjoying the company of others. All of these qualities, and more, describe healthy social-emotional development. Like any skill, young children develop these abilities in small steps over time.

Lately in the Rising Stars room the children are beginning to show social emotional skills with their peers and caregivers. The children have been noticed helping younger children with self-help skills such as helping them to sit at the table for kai time, as well as showing empathy to their friends as well as sharing the toys together.

Social development includes trust, self-image, self-confidence and the ability to share, cooperate and bond. This type of development is important for your baby and his later success in school and in friendships. During his first year of life, play and repetition are especially important for any type of development. These are some simple activities you can do at home to help nurture social skills.

Peek-a-Boo!

A game of peek-a-boo can help your baby develop socially, in more than one way. In addition to making eye contact and helping your baby smile and laugh, you can help them follow moving objects with their eyes. Additionally, you will be preparing them for the day when he/she discovers object permanence. When a baby is young, they don't realize that an object is still there, even if they do not see it. As your baby grows, they will be able to understand object permanence. When you cover your face or head with your hands or a blanket, your baby can no longer see you. Uncover your face or head while saying "Peek-a-boo!" and your baby can begin to understand and trust that she will see you again -- even if you disappear.

Imitation Activities

Imitating your baby and giving him the opportunity to imitate you can help his social development. As you take turns imitating each other, your baby learns how to cooperate and participate in a social activity. It can also improve self-image. When your baby makes a sound or facial expression, make eye contact and then imitate the sound or expression. Give your baby an opportunity to imitate you by making simple sounds and silly expressions. Whaea Channelle (RS Lead Teacher).