The daycare and preschool experience can be incredibly rewarding for children. Not only can your child learn valuable STEAM concepts, but it’s also a great place to learn critical social and emotional skills that will last them for the rest of their life.
The importance of social and emotional development in preschool
A child’s ability to communicate and create relationships directly impacts their quality of life. Healthy social and emotional development leads to success in school, work, and personal relationships. In addition, it has the following benefits for children:
- Helps them understand social risks
- Teaches the dangers of peer pressure
- Demonstrates the difference between “tattle-telling” and reporting
- Knows proper safety procedures with strangers
- Greater confidence to report improprieties
- Understands how to reach out to an emergency contact
Here are some ways you can encourage your child to make friends and be more social in preschool.
Befriend other parents
Befriending another parent of a child in preschool or daycare can be a good introduction to one of your child’s schoolmates. If you schedule play dates in a familiar environment or spend time with the new parent and child outside of preschool, both children can get to know each other in a low-pressure environment.
A recent study at the University of California, Berkeley showed that 18-month-old children were already developing the foundations of empathy, and by age four they were beginning to consider other people’s feelings in relation to their own. Empathy is a key building block in forming strong relationships. You can encourage empathy in your child by demonstrating it to others around you, respecting your child’s feelings and giving them emotional support, and by having discussions in an open-minded, non-judgmental way.
Ask your child’s teachers for advice
At My Place, we demonstrate how to interact with others in a respectful way, discuss safety and privacy, and encourage organic engagement between students.
Your child’s daycare or preschool teacher is there with your child every day, and knows all your child’s other schoolmates as well. They may have some further insight on how you can help your child make friends, and can build their social and emotional development in the classroom.
Learn more about social emotional learning (SEL) at My Place!