Social & Emotional Development

The “terrible twos” have arrived and your bundle of joy is becoming a unique little person with a personality all of their own. Negotiating this important stage with patience and sensitivity will facilitate your preschooler’s social and emotional development for years to come.

How do I raise a happy child?
Showering your toddler with toys and protecting them from discomfort is not the recipe for a happy camper. True happiness comes from within and your role is to help your little one develop a set of inner tools they can rely on throughout life.

Your toddler’s self-esteem will grow as they get to know and value themselves. Helping out with simple household chores and mastering new skills makes them feel capable. Showing pride in your toddler’s achievements and letting them know it’s okay to make mistakes will give them the confidence to try new things and discover what they enjoy doing.

How do we leave the baby stuff behind?
Dummies are great for soothing babies, but not ideal for a preschooler who’s tired, bored, or adjusting to new challenges. Talk to your child about ways to break the habit. If they agree to let their dummy go completely, mark the occasion with a special celebration or treat. If they protest, allow limited access until they’re able to let go altogether. Whichever solution you choose, help your little one to relax and manage anxiety by distracting them with a substitute activity, talking things through if they’re frustrated or allowing longer naps if they’re over-stimulated.

What if my little one is an attention seeker?
Newborns need you 24/7 in order to survive, but a preschooler who craves constant attention should ring some alarm bells. Try to get to the bottom of the behaviour: if you regularly respond to a full-blown tantrum with sweets to keep your little one quiet, you’re hard-wiring the very behaviour you’re trying to prevent. On the other hand, attention-seeking may signal your child’s need to feel more connected to you. Slow down, listen to your preschooler and talk about their opinions in a way that shows they matter.

How will my preschooler learn social skills?
At this stage your toddler is developing an awareness of the world around them. Engaging in pretend play is their way of exploring different roles and interpreting social norms. The “invisible friend” that may seem like an outrageous fib is actually your child’s imaginative way of processing new ideas. They have yet to grasp the concept of sharing and tend to play alongside other children rather than with them. Help them to develop social skills by teaching some basic rules about taking turns and find fun activities that involve interaction with others.

How can I be a good role model?
Your little one is learning from you all the time, copying actions and words, both good and bad. Set a good example – whether that’s making healthy food choices or being respectful of others. Your habits will become their habits.