Build essential social-emotional skills by helping your child develop tools to manage feelings.
As your child’s mind and body grows, social-emotional skills and well-being do too! Children go through a lot of changes and learn a lot of things about feelings from birth through pre-K. You can nurture that growth every day.
This article is one of many in the special 2018 early childhood edition of Learn More Magazine. Want to read more? Click here or reach out to your local child care resource and referral agency for paper copies!
Want to learn more about your child’s social-emotional growth? Start by exploring the ways that the toughest behaviors give you the chance to support growth. Then, visit our Play & Learning guides to explore social-emotional growth for your child’s specific age! (Scroll down for a link to each…)
Challenging Behaviors Give You The Chance To Build Connections & Skills
When a baby cries a lot…
- Don’t hesitate to give lots of hugs.
- Use a calm voice.
- Build word skills: “You are crying. Are you sad that you spilled your food?”
- Take care of yourself if you feel maxed out — taking a break is okay!
When toddler meltdowns happen…
- let them know their feelings matter.
- Help them calm down.
- Share skills: “You seem very upset. Let’s take deep breaths together.”
- Know that every person raising children has been there sometime — it’s part of helping them grow up.
When preschool pals get mad at each other…
- Talk about your child’s feelings.
- Help them think about how the other child feels: “How might you feel if…”
- Encourage your child to talk with their friend when they’re calm. Another great strategy is writing or drawing our feelings.
- Chat together about why talking through conflict is important.
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into the emotional health of your little one?
Check out our Play and Learning guidance about social-emotional growth for:
- Babies — Today, she’s already developing the early skills that will allow her to become an independent person.
- One-year-olds — Day by day, he’s developing a growing sense of independence and empathy
- Two-year-olds — Your little one is navigating how to be a friend to himself…and to others!
- Three-year-olds — Talk with your child, and help her identify and understand her emotions: happy, sad, excited, afraid, and frustrated.
- Pre-K learners — The happy, outgoing kid you dropped off at preschool may be quiet and grumpy when you see her later.
Kirsten Eamon-Shine directs Early Learning Indiana’s communications efforts, including the Brighter Futures Indiana website. She loves telling stories that help adults nurture the curiosity and potential of children. She spent over a decade in the youth development field at IUPUI, the Marion County Commission on Youth and Peace Learning Center, and has diverse experience as a digital communications manager and strategist with community-focused organizations and businesses. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Indiana University. She spends her free time reading children’s and grown-ups’ books, enjoying Indianapolis’ cultural and food scenes, and listening to music with her husband and son Emerson, who is somehow old enough to be in kindergarten.