In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the key social skills that many children often begin learning around the age of preschool attendance. While precise age ranges for these skills will vary between each child, many will often be internalizing them around the same periods of time - and as parents and educators alike, knowing about these kinds of skills can be helpful for both you and your child.
At Smart Kids Development Center, we're happy to offer several quality child care and education programs for parents and children around Taylorsville and Salt Lake City, including preschool and several other age ranges. While part one of our series went over themes like apologies, sharing and avoiding physical confrontations, today's part two will look at some other important social skills that are often being learned and internalized by preschool-age children.
During this stage in their lives, many preschoolers will often start engaging with make-believe play. This particular kind of social skills development is essentially a way for children to practice and experiment with their own self-expression as part of a group. It also helps foster things like problem-solving and listening skills in addition to empathy and understanding.
As your child is developing these new skills, there are several things you can do to help the process along. A great way is by providing them with lots of chances for open-ended play. This means involving minimal amounts of instruction or guidance and giving your child plenty of opportunities to explore and improvise on their own - it's through these kinds of experiences that they will learn the most.
While the years before preschool age are certainly not without social interactions for children, this is often the age range during which a child will become more comfortable engaging with their peers. Encouraging friends to come over and play is a great way to help socialize your child, as is enrolling them in activities that involve other children of similar ages.
The key here is finding the right balance between letting them socialize on their own terms while also making sure they're not too overwhelmed. It's also important to remember that while they may be making friends and playing together, your child is still likely to need lots of reassurance and support from you as a parent during this stage.
Finally, this is often the stage in which children become increasingly aware of the concept of good and bad behavior. What this means for them is that they will start to understand that there are certain kinds of behaviors that are appropriate for different situations and contexts - an important lesson for all children to learn.
It's important not to be too hard on your child if they don't quite understand this concept, as it will take time for them to catch on. However, providing positive reinforcement when your child does something that is socially appropriate can help reinforce the good behavior and encourage them to continue making good decisions in the future.
At Smart Kids Development Center, we strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can learn and develop these kinds of social skills. We understand the importance of learning and growing in a supportive atmosphere, one that allows your child to make mistakes and explore without feeling judged or criticized. Contact us today to learn about any of our child care programs or how we'll serve you!