As parents and educators, we all want what is best for our children. Ensuring their academic success is important, but we often overlook the importance of social and emotional development. In today’s world, children need to possess strong social and emotional skills to navigate the challenges they will face in adulthood.
It is never too early to start teaching social and emotional skills to children. In fact, children as young as 2 years old can begin to learn how to manage their emotions, develop empathy, and build healthy relationships. Here are some practical ways parents and educators can incorporate social emotional learning into 2-year-old’s daily routines.
- Create a secure and nurturing environment
Children need to feel secure and loved to develop healthy social and emotional skills. As parents or educators, creating a warm and nurturing environment can help children feel safe and supported. This means providing plenty of snuggles, listening and responding to their needs, and creating a predictable routine.
- Encourage healthy emotional expression
It’s normal for young children to experience a range of emotions, and it’s essential that they learn how to express and manage them healthily. For example, if your child is upset, encourage them to talk about their feelings rather than dismissing or invalidating them. You can also model healthy emotional expression by labeling your own emotions and showing empathy towards others.
- Build empathy skills
Empathy is a crucial social and emotional skill that helps children understand and connect with others. To help build empathy, you can encourage your child to see things from other people’s perspectives. For example, point out when characters in books or TV shows are feeling sad or upset and ask your child how they think they would feel in the same situation.
- Teach conflict resolution skills
Even at a young age, children can learn how to manage conflicts with their peers in a healthy and respectful manner. When conflicts arise, help them understand the problem and guide them towards finding a solution that works for everyone involved. You can also teach them how to apologize and make amends when necessary.
- Encourage playtime
Playtime is an essential aspect of a child’s social and emotional growth. Through play, children learn how to take turns, share, and cooperate with others. Encourage your child to play with others, even if it’s just with siblings or cousins. You can also join them in play and model positive social behaviors.
- Foster positive relationships
Positive relationships with caregivers, friends, and siblings can have a significant impact on a child’s social and emotional development. Encourage your child to form positive relationships with those around them by offering plenty of support and guidance. Take the time to develop a strong and trusting bond with them, as this will help them feel secure and ready to build positive relationships.
- Teach self-regulation skills
Self-regulation is the ability to manage one’s emotions and behavior in response to a situation. As parents or educators, we can help children develop self-regulation skills by teaching them deep breathing techniques, calming exercises, and positive self-talk. This will help them learn how to manage their emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
social and emotional learning is crucial for a child’s overall well-being and future success in life. By incorporating these practical strategies into a 2-year-old’s daily routine, parents and educators can help their children develop healthy social and emotional skills that will last a lifetime. Remember, it’s never too early to start nurturing your child’s social and emotional development!
We also have another guide where we talk about ‘WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES FOR SUPPORTING 2-YEAR-OLDS” HEALTHY SOCIAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT?’ .
- • Encourage parents and educators to read stories and discuss emotions with 2yearolds. Reading stories can help children understand their own emotions and how to manage them.
- • Provide opportunities for 2yearolds to practice selfregulation skills such as deep breathing, counting to 10, or using a calming corner.
- • Model positive behavior for 2yearolds by demonstrating how to respond appropriately in different situations.
- • Allow 2yearolds to express their feelings through art or music.
- • Encourage 2yearolds to engage in cooperative play with other children. This can help them learn how to interact with others in a positive way.
- • Provide opportunities for 2yearolds to practice problem solving skills such as brainstorming solutions or taking turns.
Did you know that…
- I don’t have access to current or uptodate statistical data. However, some studies and reports suggest that incorporating socialemotional learning (SEL) into daily routines of 2yearolds can have a positive impact on their cognitive and socioemotional development, such as improved social skills, selfregulation, language development, and academic achievement.
- According to a report by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, young children’s healthy development requires the integration of cognitive, social, and emotional competencies, which can be enhanced through intentional and responsive caregiving and early learning experiences.
- A study published in the journal Early Education and Development found that parents who actively engaged in SEL practices with their toddlers (ages 1836 months) reported higher levels of emotional wellbeing in their children, compared to those who did not engage in such practices. SEL practices included labeling and expressing emotions, talking about feelings, encouraging empathy, and providing positive feedback and reinforcement.
- Another study published in the journal Infants and Young Children showed that preschool teachers who implemented an SEL curriculum that focused on emotional literacy, perspectivetaking, and problemsolving skills reported significant improvements in their students’ social behavior and emotional regulation.
- Overall, incorporating SEL practices into the daily routines of 2yearolds can help support their healthy development and prepare them for future success in school and life.