. Social & Emotional Development - Manitoba Parent Zone | Healthy Child Manitoba

Social & Emotional Development

Your child has started to spend more time with others: friends, classmates, teachers, community leaders, coaches, and the list goes on. How do you monitor every conversation and interaction? You don't. It is impossible to know everything your child says and does when he is away from you. But you can ask him about his day and his activities.

When you talk to your early years child, try to talk about specific events from his day rather than just asking how his day was overall. Ask him who he played with and what games he played, what lessons he worked on in math, or who his friends are in school or child care. You should also be able to speak to the other adults in your child's life to know what he is like at school, clubs or child care.

Remember if you ask your child a question and he responds, your reaction to his answer should be supportive and positive. If you respond in a negative way he will be less likely to speak to you about that topic in the future. Communicating with your child every day about his activities is an important part of your relationship, especially as he gets older.

Let your child know that he can speak to you about anything at any time. Leave the communication door wide open so he knows he has your support and love, no matter what.

As our children spend more time with friends or in the community they are going to be exposed to things we wish they hadn't been exposed to. You also can't control this completely, but a great way to deal with some of these issues is to talk about them.

If your nine-year-old daughter comes home asking for a cell phone and you do not want her to have a cell phone, explain this to her. Communication isn't magic – it will not turn her into an agreeable person simply because you have explained why she won't get a cell phone now, but it will give her reasons so she can understand your decision.

Children at this age should also be involved in some decision-making processes with their parents – what vegetable to have with supper, what board game to play, or even what the consequences should be for not listening. This will give them a sense of control and responsibility over their lives without going overboard and giving them too much control.

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