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Developing Social Skills in Early Childhood

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Human beings are social animals, and the pandemic has made us realize this even more. Being stuck at home hasn’t been easy or fun for any of us, let alone our children. Being indoors with very little social interaction has affected our children in more ways than one. Adding to this is the fact that many early-years education curriculums have not been paying enough attention to this in the past.

The lack of varied social interactions has resulted in children not developing the social skills they need in their adult lives. Here are five important social skills that are crucial for our children to develop to be able to thrive in this social and diverse world:

  1. Emotional expression – One of the primary needs of any child is to be able to express themselves successfully. For this, they need to be able to label their emotions verbally. As parents, we need to teach them to distinguish between emotions like happy, sad, angry, hungry, etc. Only once they are aware and able to understand their emotion can they learn to manage these. This is an important social skill as children would inadvertently be exposed to various reasons that stir up an array of emotions, and they need to be able to cope with these.

  2. Empathy – Another essential life skill is empathy. Compassion, care, and kindness all have roots in empathy. A child who learns to be empathetic early in life will treat everything and everyone around them with a gentleness that will help in making this world a better place to be in.

  3. Collaboration – Collaboration is essential for adults as well as it is for children. Collaboration means working together with others towards a common goal. Collaboration would call for respecting and accommodating when others make requests. It also involves valuable contribution, participation, and the will to help other members in need.

  4. Listening – One of the most undervalued skills for healthy communication is listening. Listening means more than simply hearing what is being said. It also means understanding the message that is being conveyed.

  5. Non-verbal skills – While verbal communication makes up a significant part of our lives, non-verbal communication is equally important. This includes gestures, manners, postures, and tone of voice. These are important because when you understand things that are unsaid, communication becomes effective and efficient.

Various international pre-schools have now shifted focus from just academics to your child's overall development. They employ play-based learning methods to achieve this holistic view on development and learning. It is essential to understand that a socially competent child is an asset to our community and the world.

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