Understanding your Child’s Social and Emotional Needs

socialSocial and emotional well-being is essential for every human being and especially children. Many parents fail to recognize and attend to the social and emotional needs of their children, and this is one of the leading causes of dysfunctional children in today’s society. When a child’s social and emotional needs are not met, they are unable to fit into society and end up becoming social misfits. This article discusses the social and emotional needs that every parent ought to pay attention to and ways through which parents can understand and enhance their children’s social and emotional well-being.

Social and emotional needs of children

Social and emotional needs of children are based on their ability to interact with the people around them and adjust to different situations and environments. Although every child has a different personality that greatly influences their social and emotional needs, there are certain skills that will tell you whether or not a child is growing socially and emotionally.

1.      Ability to play with other children.

This is a sign that a child is growing into a social being and can interact with others. Playtime with peers can also be an indication that your child is learning how to be patient with his fellow playmates and is willing to share toys with other kids. Additionally, playing with other children can build the right attitude towards winning and losing amongst children.

2.      Reaction to unfavorable situations.

How a child reacts when things don’t go his way is a very important indicator of his emotional and social well-being. A child that throws tantrums and acts violently when offended usually shows a lack of stable emotional and social growth. On the other hand, when your child uses words instead of tantrums to express anger, you know that the child has begun growing emotionally.

3.      Interest in new things, people and environments.

learnChildren who are socially well developed tend to have an interest in new things and people. They can, therefore, cope in new environments even if adults that they are familiar with are not present.

4.      Independence.

A child is usually considered socially and emotionally stable if they show interest in being independent. This can come out in the simplest of actions such as dressing themselves, tying their shoelaces or even feeding themselves.

5.      Expression.

This is the basic indicator of met or unmet social and emotional needs. Children are usually very expressive and sensitive to those who are around them. You will know that your child is growing socially and emotionally if they can tell the emotions of those who they interact with.

How parents can promote social and emotional development

The main desire of every parent is to nurture a healthy child and without social and emotional development this cannot be achieved. As a parent, you can enhance the social and emotional development of your child. These are some vital things you ought to do to promote social and emotional growth in your child:

i.        Be involved in your child’s life. To nurture social and emotional well-being in your child, you have to be fully involved in their life. This will entail spending lots of time with the child and showing them affection to create security and confidence in them.

ii.      Encourage the child to express themselves. When you notice that your child wants to speak to you, it is essential to listen to them. Children who are shut down tend to become reserved and have a difficult time expressing themselves. You should, therefore, encourage the child to independently voice their opinions so that they can grow into socially healthy beings.

independenceiii.    Be observant. As children grow, so do their characters and emotional and social needs. You have to be keen on the changes taking place in your child and help them to cope with these situations. You also need to observe whether or not your child is happy and what interests him as this can help you nurture them to become independent individuals.

iv.     Develop proper routines. Children often feel secure in consistent environments, and this helps them to grow socially and emotionally. Abrupt and rapid changes can negatively impact on children as they do not have adequate coping mechanisms.

v.       Encourage your child to play with others. To build them socially you ought to create environments where your child is exposed to his peers and engages in games that develop his social and emotional interactions with other people.

Inevitably, different social environments and character traits of your child will influence how they cope and grow socially and emotionally. However if you nurture these aspects, you will be able to raise a healthy child.