Fun ways to develop emotional competence

Supporting children’s social and emotional competence

·         Play lots of games (board or card games for example) which encourage waiting for their turn and following rules. Sharing toys with other children during play is a skill to be developed.

·         Encourage your child to help around the house and give them small tasks to participate in. Your child could help set the table for meal times, help in food preparation, load the dishwasher or any other routine in your home.

·         Visit your local library, bookshop or order books online. Read books to your child on all the ranges of emotions and social situations. Your child will love repetition so do not be concerned if your child requests the same book multiple times.

·         Books help to develop vocabulary, by reading books with new words, children’s vocabulary will expand and they will have more words by which to express themselves, in turn helping them with building relationships.   

·         Facilitate role play for children to re-enact and experience emotions and social situations in a safe environment

·         Expose your child to theatre, music and film whose theme is sharing, caring, problem solving, respect and emotions.

·         Together with your child find a way of helping regulate feelings of frustration that works both at home and kindergarten.

·         Take your child on play dates with children in the neighbourhood or ask your educator at kindergarten who your child likes to play with to encourage positive interactions.

Children are born competent, empathic and social human beings. By accepting and validating their emotions, supporting their relationships and respecting them, you help them build a strong feeling of positive self- esteem. A competent child has competent parents, they learn from each other and they strengthen their relationship day by day, experience by experience. 

There are many practical tips in this chapter you can apply to your everyday life to support your child’s social and emotional development. Some you may remember well, others you may find unnecessary. In the end, the most important thing is to always keep in mind that all your child needs is someone they already have: a good role model, that respects and listens to them.