From the moment we are born, we’re communicating. What starts as babbling and cooing eventually turns into full stories shared with family and friends. Social development is so important in the first few years of your child’s life to set them up for a happy, successful future. Here are some ways to encourage social development in your little one.
New Dad Tip
Becoming a dad will be one of the biggest events in your life. It’ll bring many life changes, both good and bad, but infinitely rewarding. Being a new dad can be daunting, but you can make it easier by being hands on from the beginning, talking to your baby as often as you can, having some one-on-one time with your little one and your partner and looking after yourself will make it all a bit easier. Don’t wait for your partner to ask, just jump in and help – and if you’re struggling to cope, seek help. Postnatal depression can affect both mums and dads.
Playing with Others
Organise playdates with other young children, take them to a playground or attend a local playgroup. Not only will this help your child socialise, you as the parent get to socialise with like-minded parents too. Going to childcare is also highly beneficial as they get to meet many different children. Encouraging early friendships will gradually teach your child to share, take turns and resolve minor conflicts.
Once your tot has a firmer grasp of themselves as an individual, they’ll start to experience more complex feelings such as embarrassment. Use words to describe these emotions to help your child make sense of what they’re feeling. You can also describe the emotions your child is experiencing throughout the day (“are you feeling sad because your brother took your toy away?”) and label your own feelings too (“I’m so frustrated that I can’t find my keys”).
Stories and Games
Reading books and telling stories will help with your child’s social and language development. Imaginary play will help with their social development too, such as pretending to be a shopkeeper or a doctor.
Stay at Home Dads Fact
While stay-at-home dads are not common in Australia, the numbers are on the rise. From a 2011 study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, there were approximately 68,500 families with stay-at-home dads compared to 495,600 with stay-at-home mums. The numbers have been estimated to have risen to 80,000 in 2018.
STORY By Director of Operations Nicole Hanlon, Childs World Early Learning Centres