Tips on Nurturing Your Child Social-emotional
05:04 | 07/01/2014


Relationships are the way babies come to know the world and their place in it. They provide the loving context necessary to comfort, protect, encourage, and offer a buffer against stressful times. It is through relationships that young children develop social emotional wellness, which includes the ability to form satisfying relationships with others, play, communicate, learn, face challenges, and experience emotions. In addition, nurturing relationships are crucial for the development of trust, empathy, compassion, generosity, and conscience.


Social-emotional wellness is often known as young children mental health by early childhood professionals. In a nutshell, it is the developing capacity to experience and regulate emotions, form secure relationships, and explore and learn—all in the context of the child's family, community and cultural background.The following are tips on how to nurture young children’ social-emotional development.


Provide your child with responsive care.


How often do you observe what your child is doing? Sounds like a silly question with the answer being, "I watch him all the time!" However, we often are with our children without really observing them. Observing involves looking at what your child is doing, listening to what he is saying, and learning about your child's individual way of approaching the world (is he a jump in and "let's go" child or a sit back and "take it slow" child). Taking time to really sit and observe what children do provide us with clues about what makes our child tick. Those clues allow us to make better educated guesses about why they behave as they do, and help us as parents and caregivers to respond in a way that is productive and supports their development. When children feel responded to and understood, they develop confidence and good self-esteem.


Be affectionate and nurturing.


The sight of a cute baby makes us want to coo, gurgle, and entertain to get that wonderful baby smile. Feelings of affection can be a little more hard to come by during prolonged crying spells or tantrums—but fortunately, most of us can find our feelings of love and desire to nurture little ones even during trying times. Touching, holding, comforting, rocking, singing and talking to babies are things that may seem to be the natural way to play with a baby or to comfort a distressed young child. These interactions are more than meets the eye—they also provide precisely the stimulation their growing brains need. Loving touches and encouraging words send messages to your baby that he is somebody special. And when he feels he is loved for who he is, he learns how to love others that way, too.


Help your child learn to resolve conflict in a healthy, appropriate way.

Around this age, toddlers are developing an awareness of "self" and sharing can be especially hard. They know what they want when they want it, but their brains are not yet fully capable of understanding another person's feelings or point of view. In addition, self-control is also just beginning to develop. Though toddlers can understand what you mean when you say not to take something from others, they have a hard time keeping themselves from acting on their impulses. Think how hard it can be for you, as a mature adult, to stop yourself from eating that chocolate chip cookie you are craving when you have decided to go on a diet.


By helping very young children name their feelings, and letting them see and practice ways to control their impulses, they learn over time how to do it themselves. This helps them learn how to resolve conflicts on their own.
Scaffolding also helps young children control their urges and resolve conflicts. Scaffolding happens when you follow your child's lead and provide just enough support to challenge him to the next level without overwhelming him with frustration. For example, instead of picking up his son’s favourite toy truck that is 1 metre away and out of his son’s reach, Michael, the dad, moved it closer enough for his son to get it with effort.  By doing this Michael acknowledged his son’s needs and responded with a little help, and he challenged his son with support to encourage his learning.


Help your child feel connected and recognize the power of your words


Children who feel connected with their family members, friends and community feel good and, as a result, they do well. They are far more motivated to learn, cooperate, and be loving when they feel connected, cared about, and valued. Parents must be careful with their words. Labels, in particular, can be damaging, disrespectful, or dismissive (e.g., "Joey's always grouchy in the morning," "Oh, that Olivia! She is a devil child!"). Judgments about a child's character often become self-fulfilling. Children, assuming that adults know more than they do, trust our assessments more than their own. Labels also overlook a child's strengths. For example, a "shy" child can be very observant, watching people and situations before deciding how and when to act. This child really gets to know people before warming up to them and can develop some valuable attributes from this trait.


Teach Your Child To Fail


Children with high self esteem can see their weaknesses and view them as opportunities for growth. If you can tolerate your child's mistakes, you give them the opportunity to learn from them. Children who don't learn to lose, don't learn to win. But more importantly they get their competitive passions quashed. Competition is the opportunity for a child to take risks, rise to a challenge, learn about himself, and perform. It is an opportunity for growth.


Teach your child to help others starting at a young age


Making a difference in the world and helping others are the best inoculations against poor self esteem for children. Having a sense of purpose, knowing that you can influence others and give back, creates a sense of self efficacy that leads to great self esteem. Performing meaningful activities decreases boredom, isolation, self-centeredness as well as materialism.


Keep in mind you are your child's first mirror


Parents are the psychological mirrors which children use to define themselves; to figure out who they are and how they fit into their world. This is because an infant is born without a sense of self and parents help create his first images of who he is and what his value is in the world. It is the parents who create the foundation for a child's sense of self through all of their experiences, especially words and actions.


Nguồn: Zero To Three


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