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Personal, Social and Emotional Development – What Parents Can Do to Help

25/07/2013 | Health, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

One of the six areas of learning, personal, social and emotional development is a vital part of any child’s learning process and helps them to interact successfully with others, developing a positive attitude to both themselves and others.  Personal, social and emotional development covers three areas:

·         Making Relationships

·         Self confidence and self awareness

·         Managing Feelings and Behaviour

Making Relationships

Relationships are the very essence of the human experience and it’s vitally important to help young children to learn the social skills they need to interact with others successfully and form beneficial relationships.  Encourage your baby to ‘talk’ – talk to him/her constantly throughout the day – describe what you’re doing, where you’re going and talk about the things you use and the objects around you.  During the very early months, babies are actively learning about themselves – looking at their hands and sucking on fingers, responding to touch and voice and learning to be soothed by adults.  This builds with babies responding to their name, smiling, laughing and by the age of six months, baby will recognise people other than mum and dad. 

Self Confidence and Self Awareness

As baby’s self awareness develops, he/she will start to get the idea that mum is a separate person – plenty of mirrors will help baby to recognise himself.  Do lots of hand play, with songs and rhymes – you will need to move baby’s hands until he/she is old enough to do the movements independently.  Babies and young children need to be encouraged to explore their own abilities – help baby to learn with easily achievable goals in order to promote self confidence.  A good sense of self confidence will result in baby being even more eager to explore.

Managing Feelings and Behaviour

This can be a challenge and it can take all of a parent’s patience to remain consistent so that baby learns to trust and depend on you.  You will need to provide consistent rules so that your young child will know what is expected of him/her (and what the consequences are when those rules are broken).  As you expose your child to social situations you will need to teach him/her how to express emotions in an appropriate manner.  Your child needs to learn how to control negative emotions such as anger and jealousy without shouting or hitting.  Don’t forget, your baby learns by mimicking you – this means that you need to display the type of behaviour that you expect from your child.

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