If a child has a hard time understanding that he should not knock over his friend's block creation (a form of empathy), this can lead to rejection. Probably not the first time it happens, but if it happens repeatedly, the other kids in the class are going to be wary of building or creating things when that child is near. This may lead other kids in the class to reject the building-destroyer and rejection is hard on kids. I know that it may seem like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. After all, most kids who unwittingly bulldoze other kids' masterpieces will learn not to do it anymore. However, if a child takes too long to internalize this knowledge, they may be known as the kid who plays too rough and his classmates may have already learned to avoid him. Kids pick up on rejection much earlier than we think and it can really be painful-especially the ones who struggle with their emotions in general. Of course, there are things that parents can do at home to help facilitate this emotional understanding, but school can play a part as well. Once the child goes off to school, it is important to continue these lessons with both explicit and more implicit/authentic teaching of social-emotional development. I applaud these researchers and Head Start for integrating this into the classroom and professional development curriculum. In my opinion, all programs working with preschool children should include a social-emotional component. Check out the article and let me know what you think in the comments:
How can these social-emotional skills be sustained? There is no easy answer, but I think that it can start with what parents do at home. Maximizing your child's social-emotional skills is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can give a child-and one of the most difficult. I would love to hear from parents about how they build their children's social-emotional skills. What is most challenging about this? What areas do parents feel that they need support? Put your answers in the comments, tweet me at @fpschDrSweeney, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.