Parents…..Put away the flashcards…..
Parents of young children tend to worry more about academic performance in literacy; reading and numeracy or numbers than they perhaps need to.
Experts are telling us that development of the right side of the brain in the first years of life is the most important priority; this means bonding and social connection with parents, carers and other children. The right side of the brain is known as the ‘social brain’ and the human brain is born to connect with others as a matter of survival.
We know that early education creates an important baseline for academic learning later, but what parents need to really know is…. that social skills are far more predictive of successful outcomes in adulthood than early academics…
5 Important Social Competencies to Foster in your Child:
- How to get along and play well with others. This teaches children to negotiate, problem solve, take turns, share and experiment. Make time for free play with other children
- Allow your child the opportunity to problem-solve, next time your child has a problem…. allow them to take part in the problem solving process. This builds self-esteem and supports problem solving skills such as brain storming and negotiation.
- Encourage your child to name their own feelings and to discuss and empathise what another person may be feeling using verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Notice when your child is demonstrating helpful behaviours and compliment them on this. Being helpful encourages a child to think beyond themselves and to empathise and recognise the needs of others.
- Encourage Impulse control; practice waiting their turn, playing games requiring stop-start actions like ‘musical-statues’ or ‘Simon says”.
The development of the prefrontal cortex of the brain isn’t complete till early adulthood, but some of the critical development of this area occurs in the first 5 years. Practicing social-skills assists in the development of executive functions like planning, impulse control, decision making and being able to stay on task are controlled largely by the prefrontal cortex. These skills are important for school and work life success.
(ref Amanda Morgan in “Motherly”; a modern lifestyle)