From early infancy, children show interest in connecting with other people. Infants and toddlers become increasingly tuned in to voices, facial expressions, emotions, and behaviors of people around them. They learn through early relationships with their family and other caregivers. They imitate and practice what they see! Families have an especially important role in modeling warm, loving relationships, helping children learn about and cope with their emotions, and build relationships with others. Children who receive warm, consistent, loving care develop a sense of trust and confidence which allows them to be open to exploring their world, trying new activities, forming friendships, and feeling empathy for other people.
The activities in this section provide ways for families to foster healthy social and emotional development by building trust and emotional security, self-awareness, self-regulation, and relationships with others. For example, activities include helping children to: develop a positive sense of self, recognize their own likes and dislikes, talk about their feelings, express emotions and behaviors in different situations, learn ways to calm themselves and build self-control with help from adults, share and take turns, interact cooperatively with others, and use their imagination to experiment with different roles (taking care of baby, making dinner, going to doctor’s office, etc.). Children who can follow directions, communicate their wants and needs effectively, and get along with other children are more prepared to be successful learners when they enter school.