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Social and Emotional Development:
From 4 To 6 Years

Your child's Social And Emotional Development has significant implications for current and later social functioning, for educational, and employment success.

social and emotional development

With poor emotional and social development, he is at risk of poor relationships with peers, academic problems, of later involvement in crime, of developing physical health and adult mental health problems.

Key to emotional and social development is your child's early relationship with you.

Social And Emotional Development...
4 Years

Your four year old child...

  • Can eat skilfully with a spoon and a fork.
  • Can wash and dry his hands and brush his teeth.
  • Can dress himself except for laces, ties and back buttons.
  • Often shows sensitivity to others.
  • Shows a sense of humour, both in his talk and activities.
  • Likes to be independent and sometimes with other children.
  • Is affectionate towards family and friends.
  • Plays with other children.
  • Shows concern for other people e.g. rubs back of crying baby.

Social And Emotional Development...
5 Years

At five years...

  • He dresses and undress alone but may have difficulty with shoelaces.
  • Has definite likes and dislikes.
  • Is able to amuse himself for longer periods of time, looking at a book or watching video.
  • Shows sympathy, and comfort friends who are hurt.
  • Enjoys caring for pets.
  • Chooses his own friends.

Social And Emotional Development...
6 Years

At six years...

  • Can carry out simple tasks, such as peeling vegetables, watering plants, hanging up clothes and tidying contents of a drawer.
  • Choose friends mainly because of their personality and interests.
  • Can hold a long conversation with another child or with you, naturally taking turns in speaking and listening.
  • Begins to compare himself with other children.
  • He becomes a skilled communicator and his social skills are well developed.
  • Understands other peoples points of view.
  • Has stable friendship and is able to share and play with other children.
  • Becomes more aware of his abilities.

Your Role To Help Develop Your Child’s Social And Emotional Development

Your child develops a sense of self-reliance and independence when he is given plenty of adult support and encouragement. The key to your child gaining independence is often the time spent alone helping you or being encouraged by you.

The best way of giving your child this independence is to allow him to take on as much responsibility as he is ready for. This means asking if he would like to pour out his own drink.

However, you need to be patient when you give him permission to take on this responsibility. This makes him feel good about his attempt to be self-reliant.

Do not criticise him of having a go at being independent. This will make tasks feel like a chore and he will lose confidence.

Opportunities For Your Child To Develop Self-Reliance and Independence

  • Wiping up spills.
  • Caring for equipment.
  • Helping serve snacks and drinks.
  • Tidying equipment away.
  • Hanging up coats and clothing.
  • Choosing equipment and materials to play with.
  • Setting out equipment.

Opportunities For Your Child To Make Choices

  • Choosing colours of paints.
  • Selecting sizes of paper.
  • Choosing books to read or look at.
  • Deciding which drink or snack to have.
  • Selecting sizes and colour of crayons, chalks, and pencils.
  • Deciding which play activity to join.

Activities To Help Your Child Learn Perseverance And Concentration Skills

  • Planting seeds
  • Cooking
  • Feeding and watching birds
  • Jigsaw puzzle
  • Clay modelling
  • Making models.

Importance Of A Positive Environment

A positive environment is crucial if your child is to grow in confidence and security. The main needs of your child are...
  • Love and affection
  • Security and stability
  • Opportunities to socialise

Love And Affection

Your child needs unconditional love. This means learning he’s loved and valued as he is, not what he does. Knowing that he’s loved and he will be loved gives him lifelong security. If you deprive him of this kind of love, he will have problems in later life forming relationships.

A positive environment which offers unconditional caring is welcoming of him and in such an environment he is not worried of failure or doing something wrong.

Security And Stability

A positive environment for your child also makes him feel he is being protected and cared for. He comes to understand that you are always there for him to turn to for reassurance. When he feels secure this way, he is more likely to be independent and self-reliant.

Opportunities To Socialise

Your child needs opportunities to socialise and play with other children. This is important because he will develop his social skills through being with other children.

There are now plenty of opportunities for him to socialise for e.g. parent-and-toddler groups, playground and activity clubs etc.

Activities To Encourage Your Child To Work With Other Children

  • Board, lotto, snakes and ladders
  • Home corner and imaginative play areas
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Construction materials
  • Outside activities...seesaw, ball games etc.
  • Rhymes and songs
  • Simple card games
  • Party games.

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