Help your child to nurture self-compassion. A child’s values are now largely shaped by their parents’ spoken and unspoken expectations. When social success is measured by how many invitations children get to birthday parties, they adopt that as their standard. It is therefore important to let your five-year-old know what you regard as important.
Socially successful children typically:
- Recognise their own and other people’s feelings and respond appropriately
- Use materials appropriately, then put them away
- Build friendships with selected children whom they encourage and connect with consistently
- Recognise authority
- Accept responsibility to lead
- Exert personal boundaries respectfully, yet assertively
- Resolve conflict through conversation and negotiation
- Use good manners
- Initiate play situations, have fun and enjoy laughing with people
- Help others in need
- Help with chores
Tip: Encouraging emotional intelligence
You can raise your child’s ability to understand emotions and empathise with people by talking to them about their thoughts, beliefs, feelings as well as those of characters in books.
Researchers told one group of seven-year-olds to draw pictures of stories that were read to them, while they engaged another group in conversations about what the characters might have thought, felt, believed and needed at different times.
Two months later, the children in the last group scored significantly higher in tests that measured their ability to understand other people’s emotions. They were also found to be more empathetic. This is encouraging since a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) is largely impacted by the ability to read and manage emotions.
Source: J. Dunn et al., “Young children’s understanding of other people’s feelings and beliefs: Individual differences and their antecedents”, Child Development, Volume 62, p.1352-1366, (1991).