Emotional and Social Skills to Develop

Welcome to our series on the second most selected topic from our content polls: 10 emotional and social skills to develop in young children! Here is the first one!

It can feel very uncomfortable to watch your child struggle a little. It’s totally natural (and often expected in our culture) to want to swoop in and help young children so they don’t have to experience failure.

We want to encourage you to be mindful when it comes to the timing of your offers to assist, to remove their chance to experience some trial and error. 

Children (and adults!) MUST become comfortable with failure in order to become good problem solvers. 

If your child is demonstrating some emotional frustration in these moments, calmly reassure them they will be okay, smile, and have them try again while you’re there along side them. modeling emotional regulation and emotional control in the face of challenge!

problem solving
perseverance and resilience

Skill #3 to develop in young children as they are growing in their emotional and social development!

As you become more comfortable letting children muck around through their problems, you’ll both soon be ready to talk about what’s happening when they are frustrated or want to throw in the towel!

Being intentional in how you talk to children about their feelings and what is happening around them to make them feel that way, is critical to the efficacy of those teachable moments. 

Remember, the timing of these talks should vary. If a child is escalated, save it for later. Revisiting a tough moment should not be used to shame. Debriefing and learning from what happened together shouldn’t be how a child gets to spend time with you either. Be sure you are helping them understand without rewarding inappropriate behavior, as much as you avoid punishing them for their mishandling of it all.

If you have children in your life that are struggling with this, consider talking with us! We are here to help!

Young children need explicit guidance to navigate their development of perspective taking 

This is a hard one: for everyone! Children need lots of support developing this skill, and across many years and many contexts.

When adults remain calm, and neutral when responding to aggression, tantrums, threatening or inappropriate language, etc it helps in MANY ways!

  • it deescalates the child
  • it models handling emotional moments with control
  • it demonstrates the child is in a safe space and won’t be intimidated into behaving appropriately
  • it displays respect for the child while simultaneously communicating the behavior is not acceptable.

Sometimes a shift we make is VERY subtle.
When you are intentional about how you encourage a behavior, you are being sure to consider rationale behind why you want to cultivate that behavior or mindset in a child.
Kindness is a constant theme in schools and at home.

We realize this may sound like both a lofty goal, and a very simple solution to a complex challenge that adults face with young children. 

And we still want to invite you to think about those common reoccurring moments of challenge and what that child is trying to accomplish with less appropriate behaviors.

After you can identify the function of the child’s behavior, only then will you be able to think of a better way to teach that child how to get their needs met.

We are here to help you think through those language scripts, and how to analyze those challenging moments to individualized you’re responding to optimize a child’s development when it comes to self control.


The 8th social skill to develop in young children: critical thinking

In a country like ours that values freedom as one of the greatest rights to a person’s life, one of the ways to truly be free is to be able to think for one’s self.

This post only gives three suggestions on ways to foster critical thinking. What other ways do you develop the skill in your home or in your classroom?

This is a tough one. And yet incredibly important! Young children are often not even aware that they’re struggling with honesty. They can also have so much fear of repercussions that they develop a habit of never being able to take responsibility for a choice they’ve made. So being able to calmly and appropriately help them shift those habits will make them significantly better skilled at conflict resolution with peers!

How many of you have witnessed children handling this scenario in less than polite ways?

Then let’s help them out!