From the moment they were born, your child has been honing and improving their socialization skills. Each conversation and interaction is processed and stored in your child’s mind, influencing their thoughts and communication.
Family relationships do a great job of modeling socialization techniques to children. Eventually, however, they’ll be ready for new lessons that must be learned outside the home and familiar circles. Parents can aid their children’s social development by being intentional about how they spend their time at home and away, and by allowing for regular and diverse opportunities for socialization.
Our Atlanta Kindergarten teachers see the vast and daily benefits to early socialization as they begin to play out in the classroom setting. By focusing on this crucial part of your child’s formative years, you can help your child develop many of the building blocks necessary to succeed in life. These building blocks include:
Through socialization, children learn and practice essential parts of speech, sentence structure, and voice inflection. They also learn how to use manners and participate in respectful, two-sided conversations. Additionally, they learn to listen, consider what others have to say, and discover ways to read expressions and body language.
The more socialization a child receives, the more comfortable they will feel around unfamiliar people and in unfamiliar environments. Instead of stressing about what to say in social situations, well-socialized children can converse more comfortably. They learn to take things as they come and can cope better when things don’t go as planned or expected. Early socialization is crucial for growing little leaders who can bring others into a welcoming, encouraging environment.
Problem-solving and teamwork
Put a few children on a playground together, and before long, they’ll run into a problem that must be solved. This may come in the form of a disagreement regarding who will play the role of Spider-Man, or how they will defeat the imaginary Thanos. Whatever the conflict, encourage children to work together to find a solution. Here, children will learn to share ideas, compromise, take turns, and practice inclusiveness.
Emotion management and expression
Sometimes the ups and downs of social interaction will cause little ones to experience strong feelings. These may range from anger to excitement, jealousy to pride. After spending time in a social situation, encourage children to discuss their interactions and the feelings they experienced during them. Your child might be upset that another child didn’t want to share a coveted toy or that there wasn’t a place for them in a game that was being played. Talk to your child about how they could respectfully communicate their feelings in the future.
In addition to working together, children can learn other aspects of healthy relationships through early socialization. These values include sharing, putting others first, apologizing when an offense has been committed, practicing forgiveness and empathy, and learning to express interest in others.
Grow their imagination
Through play with others, children discover how their peers use their imagination in ways they may not have considered. Collaborative play allows children to develop storylines and put themselves into out-of-this-world characters, expanding the scope of their imagination.
Children soak up vocabulary like sponges, and you can take advantage of this natural learning skill by filling their vocabulary tanks with a diverse language repertoire. Studies have shown that parents who use less “baby talk” and opt for normal conversation around young children are more likely to see their children using advanced vocabulary at an early age. Instead of watering down your conversations with basic language, talk about the definitions of new words with your child as they come up.
Recognize and become familiar with other languages
When a child is introduced to new social environments, they may hear languages that are different from their own. When kids can learn to differentiate between languages from a young age, they’ll be better prepared to pick up a second language later on.
Children can learn essential skills for thriving in a classroom environment long before walking through school doors. We see evidence of this through the young people in our private kindergarten here in Atlanta. Those who have had experiences with socialization before their first day of school are at a distinct advantage.
Early socialization can teach children to respect authority and ease separation anxiety in advance. This might be learned while playing at a friend’s house, with a babysitter, or by attending church Sunday school. Allowing your children to play under the supervision of other adults will equip them with the tools necessary to enter the classroom with confidence.
The building blocks formed through early socialization will lay the foundation for a future where your child can thrive and succeed. Be intentional. Even the most straight-forward, everyday conversation can be an opportunity to nurture and develop these fundamental skills.
By helping your child learn to communicate confidently, build healthy relationships, and grow their imaginations and vocabulary, you can prepare your child to navigate the classroom, the workplace, and beyond.