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Child Development

How does a child form their developmental area – social, emotional, cognitive or physical?

Learning in children takes place after birth and develop at a rapid pace, especially during their early years. These learning will provide an essential foundation as children go older and become adults. 

Parents and adults have a big responsibility in making sure that children will reach their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. Children need to be nurtured at a young age to secure their future and success when they become adults. 

Social, cognitive, physical and Emotional Development of Children

Every aspect of child development, whether its social, cognitive, physical and emotional, is interconnected. The following concept will help my friend Arthur from Plasterer Sydney in his parental quest.

The experiences of children at a young age will affect how their brains will respond to a stimulus like stress in the future. It will also determine how well they are in building a trusting relationship with others when they become adults. 

During the first five years, the young brain will go through dramatic progress that will prepare them for social and emotional development. At age one, the brain of a child doubles in size. Children at three years old have a brain which is 80% the size of an adult brain.

At this stage, children develop their necessary motor abilities, language, understand their feelings and the feelings of others towards them. What happens in the first few years of the life of children will directly affect their long-term emotional, cognitive and social outcomes. 

What is emotional and social development?

Emotional and social development is the changes that develop over time in children’s response to their social environment. Social and emotional development can be described in terms of the child’s temperament, social skills and emotion regulation. 

Temperament

Temperament describes how a young child reacts or respond to different situations and when dealing with their parents, strangers or fellow children. Temperament can be described as comfortable, slow-to-warm-up and rugged. 

Easy babies or children are easily soothed when they are upset and have a positive reaction to people. Slow-to-warm-up is a bit more hesitant to strangers and new situations or places. Difficult babies or children, on the other hand, are easily agitated and sensitive to their environment. 

A child may exhibit one or more of these characteristics. When children show a problematic temperament, it advised that parents keep their home as predictable as possible and gently exposed the child to a lot of positive experiences, they can slowly develop an easy temperament. 

Social Skills

Social skills are also developed in the early years of children. Attachments, which the emotional connection of a child to his parents or caregiver, plays an essential role in the development of the child’s social skill. 

It promotes a positive bond between a child and parents or caregiver. It also minimizes the risk of children developing emotional and social problems later in their childhood and when they are adults. Children who have a positive connection with their parents will tend to have a positive and trusting relationship with others when they become adults.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation refers to a child’s ability to control his or her emotions and how they react to their environment. Regulating their feelings does not mean that a child should always be happy and calm. 

It’s normal for babies and children to have occasional tantrums or to cry. But parents should be able to determine if such behaviour happens too often already. Intervening and controlling emotional and social difficulties in children will eventually be beneficial when they become adults. Parents, caregivers, teachers and schools should invest time and resources to help children who struggle with emotional and social difficulties. This intervention will benefit communities in the long run. 

Children develop differently and at their own pace. Parents should always know the best their child. If you think your child is a difficulty setting in a particular area, whether its emotional, social and other aspects, it’s best to consult a specialist or a doctor and share your concern the soonest possible time.

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Helping Children cope and reduce child stress

Children are also affected by stress, like adults. Pressure from schoolwork, family, friends and peers can lead to stress. Family disruptions like transferring to a new home or school, change of routines, or even pressure from their parents can contribute to the stress children are experiencing. 

Like adults, long-term stress may lead to emotional, behavioural, mental or physical problems in children. Parents, caregivers and teachers should know the signs of stress, intervene and help children manage stress before it becomes severe. Stress can cause anxiety, depression and behavioural problems among children.

Sources of Stress

Tension in the home is a prevalent source of stress for children. When parents fight or become separated children are greatly affected. This stress can translate to unusual behaviours such as constant crying, tantrums or even shyness. Parents must be aware of this behaviours and intervene at the earliest time. 

For growing kids, a school can also be a source of stress. Academic work like assignment, test and other school work may overwhelm children, and some might exhibit behaviours such as absenteeism, headaches, and even bullying. 

In school, children learn to make new friends and interact with other students. Sadly, this interaction can sometimes lead to stress, especially if they become victims of bullying or if they have a misunderstanding with their school friends or classmates. 

Parents and adults have a big responsibility to help children cope and deal with stress. But we must also accept that we cannot altogether remove stress from children. Overprotecting our children from hardships and anxiety may not even be beneficial to them when they become adults. 

Stress is inevitable and is part of life; it teaches children how to be resilient and adapt to the situation. Resilience is an important skill when they eventually become adults and want to succeed in life.

Signs of Stress in Children

It’s vital to identify the early signs of childhood stress. It can show up in different ways, such as changes in behaviour. When kids used to be happy and full of life suddenly becomes silent and stays alone in their room, then it can be a sign of stress. 

Changes in eating habits is also a sign of stress; eating too little or too much food can be a stress reaction. Parents should be aware of their children sleeping habits and watch for changes in their sleep pattern. If they complain that they are always tired, you should find out if they had enough sleep. Sleeping more than usual or children who have difficulty sleeping is often a sign of stress.

Here are some tips that can help children manage stress.

  1. Sleeping well is one of the simplest and easiest ways to deal with stress. Young children age 6-12 years old need at least nine to twelve hours of sleep. On the other hand, teens need to have at least eight to ten hours of sleep. Sleeping energizes the body and lets it recover from a day of activities. 
  1. Exercise can be a great activity to relieve stress for children. They can join their school’s sports team or play with their friends in the yard or park. A few hours of playing can significantly reduce stress. 
  1. Finding a hobby that children enjoy can help them reduce stress. It can be creating art, drawing, reading, board games, playing musical instruments or even collecting different objects. Hobbies break the monotony of school work and will help lessen stress. It can also develop other skills in art or music. 
  1. Talking and being open about stressful situations. Encourage children to talk about the things and situations that bring them stress. By doing so, they will be able to identify them and find possible solutions to lessen the stress. Having open communication will allow parents and teachers to suggest solutions to help them cope with stressful situations. 
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What factors contribute to children’s difficult behaviour?

The first few years is one of the most important in the health and development of a child. To have healthy growth and development, children should be given their emotional, social and educational needs. These include all children, even children with special needs. Parents and family members should be able to provide a loving and safe home for children, as well as, an opportunity to play, exercise, proper nutrition and sleep. 

Good Parenting Practices

One crucial factor in the development of children is positive parenting. Parents need to learn how to make their children happy, healthy and develop well. Parents need to show warmth and sensitivity, especially when dealing with their children.

Parents need to create routines and household rules and respond to their children in a very predictable way. These include giving appropriate discipline when these rules are broken but without harshness. Talking to children and sharing book stories will also help in supporting a healthy and safe home environment. Parents should use these practices to support their child and make them stay healthy, safe and successful.

What factors contribute to children’s difficult behaviour?

Parents will always want the best for their children and would strive and do their best to make sure their children will have a healthy and safe environment. But sometimes some factors influence children’s behaviour that may trigger outburst, tantrums and other poor behaviour. So what factors influence a child’s behaviour?

Hunger and thirst 

Children, especially young ones, sometimes cannot expressly tell their parent what they need something from them. So a hungry or thirsty child may be already telling their parents they need food and drinks without their parents realizing it. It’s always hard to read between the lines on the reason why a child is having tantrums. 

Sometimes when kids play or are doing a task, they don’t usually pause and stop to have a break as adults would do. So for parents, it’s essential to establish a routine where you have them eat and drink in between playing or doing activities. These routines will lessen the chance of them having tantrums due to hunger and thirst.

Quality and amount of Sleep

Sleep is vital for a child to have a healthy brain development since the brain is developing at an astronomical pace. They need to have enough sleep. 

When kids sleep, their brains are creating new neural connections and pathways which are essential in the development of the brain. Parents should ensure that their children have a good sleep routine that makes sure they have the right number of hours of sleep and have occasional naps.

Kids that don’t have enough sleep or have irregular sleeping habits may have some behavioural problems like tantrums or irritability.  They are sometimes sleepy in school or during family activities because they have not had enough sleep during the night due to an irregular sleeping routine.  Training a child to sleep during specific hours at night and waking up on an assigned time in the morning ensures they got enough number of hours of sleep and lessens tantrums.  

Too much screen time

With the advent of technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices, there is an ongoing trend of young children using these devices. To the point that when parents try to take away these devices, children would often have tantrums, outburst and other misbehavior. 

Studies have shown that too much screen time can overstimulate a child which may cause mood swings, anxiety, poor behaviour and irritability.  Too much screen time causes sleep problems since instead of sleeping children would choose to continue using their devices. It can also lead to social issues since interaction with other kids is limited, and friendships are often online and not personal. 

It is crucial for parents to limit and reduced the screen time of children and have more socialization to control poor behaviour associated with too much screen time.