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Intro to Social-Emotional Development

I hope you all had an amazing fourth of july!! It is one of my favorite holidays, this year we did the works, our towns big night of fireworks, boating, bbqing, our neighbors fourth of july breakfast and even a parade… I don’t know if you can beat that. My poor husband was exhausted, though. But he had a good time 😉

I wanted to write about social-emotional development, today. When I was writing this post I thought that I would be able to cover everything, but turns out I have too much to say on the topic!! Sounds like a typical women thing to me, ya know talking too much about their emotions 😉 I’m starting at birth, and over the next couple weeks I will hopefully catch all I wanted to say, about each age of development.   

Birth:

The most important thing you are teaching your little one about social-emotional development in the month immediately following birth is about loving, supportive relationships. For those of us who like academic theories to back up what naturally is occurring it is called, attachment theory. Those in the world of child and family life studies would say that attachment has moved beyond theory to an essential part of our social-emotional wellbeing.  The idea behind attachment theory is that everyone needs to be securely attached to someone that will make you feel safe, supported, and that will meet your needs. Now, no pressure but some in the world of ‘attachment theory’ would say that if you don’t securely attach to a parent or caregiver in the first years of your life then you have a hard time in relationships in general, you struggle with trust, feeling safe in relationships, the list goes on… I’m not sure I believe all of that, but that’s a post for another day. The point is, the most important thing you can do for baby is show them love and consistency in meeting their needs. I guess you could say an infant’s love language is acts of service… 😉 basically meeting all their needs. Over time your baby will learn that when they cry you will try and solve whatever issue they have. Your child’s cry will even evolve to mean different things, such as ‘feed me’, ‘I left a not so pretty surprise in my diaper for you’, or ‘please help me sleep, I’m exhausted but don’t know how to self soothe.’ This is teaching your little one about positive relationships, that when you communicate something the other will try and help you get through it. 

As your little one gets older they will start to show signs of independence, such a crawling around to explore their world. It is so neat to see this stage because children will venture out, but will almost always come back to check in, or will look at their parent or caregiver to see if they are watching. This is their way of testing how far this ‘circle of support’ really goes. When you are watching, or reinforcing their exploration with positivity, your little one is learning that they can still have relationships while asserting their independence. Isn’t that neat, that at six months they are learning some pretty important life skills.

Something I feel that I should mention, is that each child is unique. Every child comes with their own temperament, and we need to be okay if they are a little more independent or sometimes dependent, and work with them in ways that encourages their own personality. A child’s own temperament can play a big role in how they deal with their own emotions and social situations down the road. I’m sure you can reflect on yourself and see how experiences coupled with your personality have shaped you into who are now. Children are born with personalities, and I’m sure that you can all attest to seeing certain personality traits from birth. It is important to encourage self-awareness and positive interactions, these help promote a healthy self-esteem. When a parent and child are playing back and forth games such as peek a boo, the child can feel positive about social interactions, and that they can communicate their wants and needs. These types of interactions are so enriching and very hard to replace. One on one time engaging and following your little one’s needs can really help them have a good self image.

As children reach other developmental milestones they are always developing their social-emotional self. When children are starting to move on their own, they are using that burst of independence. As they get closer to one they almost always go through a ‘clingy’ phase, where they want to be near mom or dad. This is because they are learning to walk, and that is expanding their world and it makes them feel safe to know someone is there for them.  For some children though, this can be short, because they might be more independent. For other children it might be for a long time, because they are more cautious.

Next week I will discuss social-emotional development from one up to three years. You know the nice, and then tantrum years…

What are some fun personality traits of your little ones? What made you first realize that they had that trait?

p.s. My husband and I have our twenty week appointment this week!! We finally get to see our little one and find out the gender. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share!!

Deborah

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