Now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted, how do we ease our children back to socialisation and help them work on their early childhood milestones and development?
As communities begin to reopen and Covid restrictions lift, parents and caregivers are reminded that their children have lost a lot of socialising time. It’s been over two years of cancelled birthday parties, playdates, sports, dance and early childhood development classes, and all other activities where young children typically get to spend time outside of home socialising with peers.
SOCIALISING IS IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN
Social development influences all other areas of your child’s development. Children need social interaction to thrive and encourage healthy brain development.
When kids socialise, they learn:
- How to interact with others
- Empathy skills
- How to give and take
- Social cues
- Social norms
- School readiness
- Important milestones
These skills help encourage cognitive development, literacy development, and physical development. These areas of growth are all inter-connected.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR CHILD’S SOCIAL SKILLS AFTER TWO YEARS OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES?
What do we mean by missed opportunities? Children haven’t been completely isolated, they’ve been socialising each day with their parents, siblings and other people (and pets) in your home. There is give and take, back and forth, accommodating each other, reading cues, and playing together. It’s not necessarily been a time of complete absence of learning social skills, it has just looked different these past two years. Parents may also have inadvertently passed their stress and pandemic anxiety on to their children.
It is so important to start the socialisation process with your pre-schoolers sooner rather than later and to get them skilled in all the social norms and expectations they should master before they enter mainstream education.
KIDS NEED TO PLAY TO LEARN!
It’s a natural human need to play, and children need time to do it each day. Play can be structured, such as a board game, or unstructured, such as playing with blocks in a self-directed way. Activities like “Simon Says” help preschool children practice social skills, like taking turns, following directions, and having self-control.
For babies, playing games like “Peek-a-Boo” can encourage back-and-forth babbling, a foundation for later social development and language.
If your child acts clingy or shy in a social situation, it is not necessarily a reaction to the pandemic. It may be that your little one’s temperament is more withdrawn or slow to engage. Read your child’s cues, meet them where they are, and give them the support they need to help ease them into play with other kids.
This may mean standing with your child while watching other children play and explaining to them what you see. Perhaps your kiddies will want you to join them in the play with other kids, and here Clamber Club baby and toddler classes are extremely valuable as you are able to spend time with them while they become more comfortable.
Children’s brains are growing at such a rapid rate that the social development door is not closed. They are learning and growing each day and will be able to make up for lost social time this year as pandemic restrictions continue to ease.