Socio-emotional development is defined as a psychological theory that human personality is developed through a repeating series of crisis and resolution.
A very simple example of this definition is the act of kindness in adults. Those who learned to share, be kind while they were in school, will always be kind to others.
Honestly speaking socio-emotional development starts from the time of birth. Kids/toddlers learn at an incredible pace. By the age of 5, their brains form up to 700 neural connections per second. That’s a lot of brainpower.
The recent research that kids start learning from the very beginning, is very exciting. And, it gives us away, to change the way how we interact with kids? Or, how we act particularly with infants and toddlers?
As a parent or a teacher, we may focus on academic or IQ development, and sometimes, we lack focus on socio-emotional development. Some people might wonder, what is the need for socio-emotional development, what is the need for developing that. Very, simply answering that question- Socio-emotional development is learning how to be human, from the very first day of our lives.
It also tells about the self-management, self-awareness, and self-control. And it also includes being able to make relationships with others. All of these aspects are very important for a grown-up adult. Being able to express their emotions or accept the way they feel, it all starts from the environment we had as a child. So as a parent or a teacher we should make sure that the children are in a safe environment, which is not suffocating enough that the child can’t explore his/her creative side.
The first one is self-awareness, it’s when the child is aware that how he/she is feeling about things happening around him/her. Is the child able to identify the emotions he/she is feeling? When the child learns how to identify the emotion, he/she will be able to manage the consequences.
The second one is self-management, it’s the next step of self-awareness, when the child knows how they are feeling, now they should know how to act. Let’s say the child is feeling angry, instead of throwing things away, he/she can try working on it or maybe ignoring the situation. It also depends from child to child and how he is grown up.
The third one is social awareness, it’s about the child's understanding to show empathy and understanding to others. Understanding that their actions might affect other people. Let’s say a kid is angry in school, and he/she trying to make other people also suffer is where the kid lacks social awareness or has not developed socio-emotional skills.
The fourth one is relationship skills, it’s pretty simple to understand, and how kids interact with each other, make friends, and talk to others. Getting along with others, working in teams, and dealing effectively with conflicts. For some kids, it’s easier to create relationships and for some, it’s not.
And last but not least is responsible decision making, it’s about how to use the time to make choices and thinking enough about the consequences to make the best decision. Let’s say kids find an attractive toy on the playground, his decision could be to steal the toy or maybe inform an adult about the lost toy. This brings in a lot of skills such as analyses the situation, assuming personal responsibilities, respecting others, and problem-solving. It will help them to be responsible adults in the future.
In the end, kids learn from what they see and we should make sure that whatever they see, they will learn from that and will repeat the same in their own lives.