What is social development in early childhood?
Social Development in early childhood is developed according to our experiences, our outlook towards others, our way to interact that keeps changing with our age, our surroundings, and the kind of people we interact with.
It is one such factor that shapes us into the people we are today.
What exactly is social development?
Social Development is the child’s behavior, their ability to communicate, interact with others around them.
What starts with trying to interact with their caregivers, branches out to children making other relationships as well.
Infants and toddlers
Children start communicating as infants, trying to connect with parents and family to fulfill the basic need for bonding. They start interacting with their families by starting to recognize them, showing emotions of laughter and love towards them.
As toddlers or preschoolers, children start to branch out playing with other children even in the absence of communicating verbally. They develop their language to communicate their thoughts to each other.
This is where children start to follow instructions, rules and develop a sense of authority. They start to develop social skills by being in a group. At this stage is when they start to make friends, without the conceptual definition of friendship however sharing and having fun together.
When they start growing, they begin to interact and form other relationships also while becoming territorial and having a desire for things.
For example, some kids might share their toys and some kids might declare them theirs and not share, doing the same with their loved ones as well by not letting them hold or care for others.
Factors that influence social development
- Types of families: A lot of factors influence this development during early childhood. Some children are raised in nuclear families while others are raised in joint families having 2 or more kids in the same surroundings.
- Security and safety: The safer environment the parents provide, the more their influence is there on the development of social skills. Culture, home and family environment, rules, and routines are also major influences on a child’s way of interacting with others and adjustment to new environments.
- Rules and restrictions: Just like rules are important, so is the freedom to express emotions. Children should be encouraged to express anger, sadness just as much as excitement or happiness.
How do parents help in social development in the early years?
A child follows and listens to everything that goes on around them. So as a parent, you should take care of what you speak around the child and make sure your tones are comforting and encouraging. When a child is trying to communicate as an infant, return it with affection.
As a toddler when the child starts speaking in babbles, encourage and try to understand what the child wants. Children mimic everything you do or say. They reflect your emotions, your tones, and your expressions.
Play games with them like hide and seek, running, and catching to help the kids understand the safety around them. Help build a healthy friend circle, to encourage a healthy and safe environment to grow, communicate and develop in.
Involve them in activities and programs that encourage their all-around development. Tickle Right – Right Brain Education program is one such endeavor that helps and encourages children in their early childhood to speak freely, voice, or express their choices and ideas together with making them learn and opening them to a new way of learning and receptive to new ideas.
The right side of our brain is in charge of creative, social, visual skills and intuition. All of this helps form verbal and non-verbal relationships as well.
All children are different
Some children might be shy and reluctant to speak with everyone, while other children easily form bonds. Every child needs encouragement and time to adjust to new surroundings. Children also make friends or talk with others having similar interests as them.
For example, a kid playing the drums would play it with another for their common interest in music. Others might bond over constructive activities. By the time they are preschoolers or in kindergarten, they start to form more relationships with teachers and children their age.
As a parent along with being strict or decisive with the child should also give the independence to be able to express themselves and be confident about communicating with others. Don’t force them to communicate and don’t force them to be reclusive. Children find their comfort zone.
The social development of children is constantly changing as a child grows and forms relationships and starts to communicate with those around them. They are the best critics of the people around them as their judgment relies on their senses, the behavior of those around them, and what they see, and how everything they see and hear makes them feel.
Even as infants, children show their interests and their inclination towards activities and people very clearly. As a parent, it is essential to help children grow in their interests and encourage everything they do.
A child’s social development is a very complex and important part of their growth as an individual in society. The relationships they form impact their all-around development thus, creating the right influences and a correct balance between rules and freedom is important for their social development through all stages of life.