I’m often asked why I’m so passionate about the social and emotional well-being of children. I believe that educators and parents have an important role to promote confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in children. By achieving this aim, children will develop kindness, empathy, resilience and respect for others. The Early Years Learning Framework states in Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity. Furthermore, Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of well-being.
Well-being – Educators and Parents are encouraged to foster strong social and emotional development and well-being in young children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Best interests of the child) states “The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All educators should do what is best for the children”. (UNICEF website).
Kindness and Empathy – It is essential to promote awareness of emotions and feelings in young children. When a child is displaying emotions of sadness or frustration, we should acknowledge
these feelings. Ask “I can see that you are sad or frustrated. Can you tell me why you are feeling like this”. It is important to have children discuss their feelings. Children should also be responsible for their actions.
Respect and Resilience – Bullying has become a concern in schools and communities, and the introduction of social media has increased the problem. It is essential that parents monitor their children’s usage of social media, to minimise the access of trolls. Teaching our children about similarities and differences will encourage respect for others. Teaching children empathy and kindness will promote resilience in young children.
Practice what you preach – The most significant person in a young child’s life are their parents. Parents are significant role models and may influence how a child acts within their community.
“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent”. – Bob Keeshan
Vygotsky’s theoretical framework states that cultural and social interaction plays a fundamental role in a child’s development. Therefore, parents, communities and peers are influential to a child’s social and emotional well-being. Furthermore, they are responsible for how a child becomes a socially responsible individual; who demonstrates awareness for kindness, empathy, resilience and respect for others.
The future is in our hands!