Blog author: Dr. Ann Marie Ginsberg
The way we feel about ourselves is essential and valuable for us to be able to verbalize needs and meet our basic needs. You might be familiar with psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Physical survival is the first thing that motivates our behavior. Simply said, if we are hungry, we look for food. When there is no food, it affects our moods. Eventually our mood spills into the mood of others.
“Need” is a multi-dimensional concept. According to Maslow, it starts with physiological needs. Take infants as an example, we look for signals like crying – are they hungry? Do they need a new diaper? What are the most basic needs to a newborn? As the baby grows into a preschooler, they are developing their personality and learning to navigate their world which is ever-expanding. Having them express their needs helps them to identify their needs and helps you to know what they need. By placing your child in school, you are helping them to grow in all 5 developmental domains.
In Understanding Stages of Development and The Importance of Play these two previous blogs, we established that it is in and through play that your child develops the third tier of Maslow’s pyramid “Love and Belonging.” Below image shows that after the basic needs are met (Tier 1) and a safe and secure environment is developed (Tier 2,) a child can grow and pursue the top three tiers of “Belonging”, “Self-esteem”, and “Self-actualization.”
Read more here.
Teaching social emotional skills is essential for helping our children to grow and thrive. These specific and targeted social interactions help your preschoolers develop their interpersonal relationship, coping, and problem-solving skills. For all the positive outcomes it brings, a large number of schools instituted Social Emotional curriculums. An article on NAEYC website goes: “Children who are mentally healthy tend to be happier, show greater motivation to learn, have a more positive attitude toward school, more eagerly participate in class activities, and demonstrate higher academic performance than less mentally healthy peers.” It continues, “Children who exhibit social and emotional difficulties tend to have trouble following directions and participating in learning activities. Compared with healthier peers, they may be more likely to suffer rejection by classmates, have low self-esteem, do poorly in school, and be suspended.” (Hyson, M. 2004. The Emotional Development of Young Children: Building an Emotion-Centered Curriculum, 2nd ed. New York: Teachers College Press.)
While your child is learning in school, the continuum to learning at home helps the child to know it indeed is important (because you are doing it too) and strengthens their learning through bridged and deepened activities. Some schools use Social Emotional programs such as Sanford Harmony Curriculum, which has a free parent component available in both English and Spanish. You can explore these resources here.
Life is busy but the time spent with your child is invaluable. Remember what matters the most is the quality, not the quantity, of the time spent. Planning short and targeted activities are just as beneficial as a full day without any set plans or goals. Here are 3 quick ideas for you to think on:
5 More Ideas:
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundation for Early Learning (CSEFEL) has some great resources for you to check out, including scripted social stories, which are great tools for helping your child navigate a situation, and a list of recommended books that supports your child’s social-emotional development.
You might want to take a look at some other books listed here:
A child’s parent and extended family is the most important building block to help a child to thrive. Each child is different, and every family has different strengths and limitations. Find what works best for your family and just do it! Teaching Social Emotional skills is about living it. In the years to come, you will be delighted at the beautiful garden you grow through your investment of time now.