Emotional & Social Development
Emotional and social development describes how children feel about themselves and how they develop relationships with others and learn to express and manage their emotions.
- Have positive sense of self
- Accept new challenges
- Feel more confident
- Experience positive relationships
- Self-regulate emotions
Practical ways families can guide children’s social skills while respecting their development and abilities.
Use positive guidance techniques. Expect and prevent potential conflicts, as well as help children learn positive behaviors. Here are some child guidance techniques:
- Minimize potential conflicts or dangerous situations.
- Review safe practices such as holding the railing when going down a flight of stairs or looking both ways when crossing the street.
- Redirection such as Let’s play over here where there’s more room.
- Offering choices like “Would you like a red or green apple?”
Guide children’s behavior by telling them what you want them to do. Positive guidance statements tell children what to do, such as “Walk,” instead of “No, don’t run.”
Demonstrate realistic expectations for each child. Know that a two year old child needs assistance in cleaning up after an activity.
Acknowledge children’s accomplishments or helpful behaviors. Notice when a child is being or trying to be helpful — “You washed your hands all by yourself!”
Assist children in having positive peer interactions Provide your child with the experience of playing with others at the park.
Provide responsive, sensitive care. Support the emotional development of children through positive and trusting relationships.
- Demonstrate respect, affection and kindness toward children by smiling and looking them in the eye while they are speaking.
- Spend time with children throughout the day, whether playing a game, practicing a sport or just talking.
- Listen to children when they are talking and demonstrate your interest with eye contact and acknowledgements that they are speaking.
- Respond immediately when children are upset, afraid or express emotions. Show concern while a child is crying by saying, “I see you are upset. How can I help?”
- Stoop, squat or sit on floor so you can engage with children on their eye-level.
- Recognize children are individuals and that each has unique strengths, needs, talents, temperaments and interests.
Health and Physical Development
A child’s health and physical development focuses on physical growth and motor development, nutrition, self-care, and health and safety practices.
- Support physical activity
- Provide nutritious meals
- Cultivate independence
- Instill basic awareness of safety rules
Language Development & Communication
Language development and communication involves the language and early literacy development of children. Language development begins with children’s ability to understand what others are communicating to them. Infants and toddlers often understand much more than they can say.
- Understand the meaning of words
- Develop a vocabulary
- Learn the rules of language
- Practice verbal and non-verbal communication
- Focus on reading and writing
Practical ways families can support children’s language and early literacy development.
- Speak with children regularly about their interests, hobbies, friends and family activities.
- Model back and forth communication in conversations with children.
- Connect words with actions while talking with children. When speaking to an infant say, “I’m picking you up now, so I can change your diaper.”
- Describe to a child what they are doing, seeing or hearing. When speaking to an infant say, “You are holding the bottle all by yourself!”
- Encourage children to talk about their feelings and describe how they are feeling whether they’re mad, happy or sad.
- Ask children what, when, where, why, who and how questions. Ask your child, “How can we fix the broken truck?”
- Expand children’s knowledge by elaborating, extending and sharing information. Explain, “The basket you are holding is made of sweet grass, a wet land plant, and grown near the ocean.”
- Encourage children to communicate and share language with other children.
- Read daily to children such as outside under a tree or before bed and visit the library.
Cognitive development focuses on children’s ability to acquire, organize and use information in increasingly complex ways.
- Apply prior knowledge to new experiences
- Refine understanding of concepts
- Give children an active role in play
- Support development of social connections
- Allow creative expression