Watching your kids grow up, it can be easy to worry about their development, especially when it comes to how well they get along with other children. Teaching your kids things like sharing and cooperation are important socialization goals, but what do you do when your child seems to only know the word, “Mine”?
Well, take heart because many behaviours that may appear to be bad signs are actually developmentally normal. Read on (https://newdimensionsfamilydayhome.com) to learn about the typical stages of socialization for your young ones and to put your mind at ease.
Around the age of 1, children are developing their social skills directly from watching their parents. Their main goal at this stage is to explore and discover their surroundings, which means they are not focused on other children at this point. Your infant may be starting to babble, signaling needs for things like a bottle or soother, but they will not yet be able to understand concepts such as sharing or playing with others.
Tip: Independence is key in infancy, so don’t stress about having your child play with other children at this point. Just spend lots of time interacting, responding to your infant’s cues, and giving them YOU to help their brain develop in a healthy responsive environment, free from anxiety.
This is where the phrase, “Mine!” comes in. As a toddler, your child will begin engaging in what is called “parallel play”. This is where they’ll play next to other children but not with them. They are still exploring their environment and cannot yet see beyond their own perspective. This makes for a very egocentric seeming child but is a completely normal part of their development.
Tip: Teach turn-taking but leave sharing for later years.
This is where the sharing ball really gets rolling. Around the age of 3, group care is very important for your child as they are beginning to develop vocabulary and understanding of their own needs. This will cause them to look for other children to play with that have similar interests, so having that peer interaction is crucial for social emotional learning. Sharing will not be a completely foreign concept now, and your child will also be able to understand others’ feelings as well.
Tip: Actively encourage play with other children and exploration of their own interests.
Kindergarten age brings with it a whole new host of social learning. Around the age of 4, your child will be engaging in much more cooperative behaviours, including being on teams, in clubs and developing close friendships. Behaviours such as turn-taking, sharing, and sympathizing are now beginning to really develop.
Tip: Social learning is starting to rev up for your child, so now is a good time to begin teaching about friendships and displaying kindness towards others.
Overall, when it comes to social development, even as your child goes off to school you as a parent are still their main influencer. So being a good role-model for how you interact with others will always be their best learning.