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Young Children: Smart vs. Socialization
Your Child IS Smart
Your child is smart; every child is smart. The things that children know surprise me everyday. I am constantly impressed by what children can teach me.
However, being smart does not go hand in hand with school readiness. I am not trying to make academically advanced children seem irrelevant. However, we so often throw the word "smart" around to describe children.
I would like to see a greater focus on another area of development, a child's social & emotional development.
Why Children Need Strong Social & Emotional Skills
In my opinion social and emotional development is the most critical developmental area when it comes to school readiness. Children who do not have age-appropriate social and emotional skills will have a difficult time in the classroom environment.
Preschool children with weak social and emotional skills have trouble
- communicating their thoughts and ideas
- maintaining positive friendships
- joining in with others during play
- enjoying school
- recovering from a tantrum
- at drop off (separation anxiety)
- following directions
- using kindness and cooperation skills
- resolving conflict
How to Gain Social & Emotional Skils
There are many ways in which you can help your gain necessary social and emotional skills.
You need to model the behavior that you want to child to use. When you are mad, tell your child how you feel. Tell them what you are going to do to calm down and work through your emotions. Treat others with kindness. Solve problems out loud. Model positive social and emotional skills and your child will learn through watching you.
Encourage your child to have age appropriate self-help skills. Self help skills are things like dressing yourself, brushing your teeth, opening food packages, tying your shoes, washing your hands, etc. While young children still need to be guided in areas of self help, let them gain independence by giving them more tasks.
Encourage your child to play by themselves, with siblings and with other children. Play is a strong way to develop social & emotional skills.
Set up play dates for your child to have with friends from school. Invite a school friend over to your house.
Talk to your child; talk to them a lot. This will not only increase your child's communication skills but it will also strengthen your relationship. Build a relationship where you and your child talk about feelings and problems.
Look for teachable moments. These are moments that you can discuss your child's feelings and behavior.
Smart vs. Socialization
We live in a world where communication and collaborating are essential. This is not any different for children. Strong socialization skills set children up to grown into productive members of society.Business owners are more likely to hire someone who is a strong communicator over someone is highly intelligent.
Where do your priorities fit in? Are you pushing your child to become academically advanced and forgetting their other areas of development?
In early childhood development we need to be remind ourselves about the whole child (physically, cognitively, spiritually, emotionally).