From a very early age, it is important that we socialise, because it is a practice that we need at every stage of our life. Socialising is particularly crucial to a child’s development for both physical and emotional wellbeing purposes.
What is Socialising?
Socialising put simply is interacting with others.
It is essential that these skills are developed at a young age and that connections begin to form because it has an impact at every stage of your child’s life. Not encouraging socialising can have significant effects on a child’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, a study found children when left alone for an extended period of time can become overly anxious and avoidant throughout their life.
There are many ways you can recognise and celebrate socialising, including recognising social milestones from an early age, such as:
- First word
- First steps
- First playdate
- First day at childcare or school
And many more. But this is an important way to encourage socialising, remove the fear of more difficult social tasks, and show the importance of socialising to your child.
Why is Socialising Important?
Socialising at a young age is important because your child will develop the skills needed to help with healthy development and relationships such as the following.
1. Communication Skills
Understanding and developing a variety of communication skills will help your child as they go through different stages of their life, such as starting child care, starting school or engaging in sporting/ extracurricular activities. Socialising allows kids to communicate with others outside of their immediate family and will help them understand risk-taking, social cues, how to listen and understand others. It is also important to note that communication skills come in many forms such as non-verbal and verbal communication, e.g. chattiness, showing interest, and hand gestures. So you shouldn’t worry if your child is not as chatty as the person next to them.
2. Confidence and Independence
Socialising allows kids to build skills that will help them be confident and autonomous later in life. Social interactions will help children develop their self-esteem and build resilience towards the unknown and in turn, create connections that make new social interactions less scary. This is a particularly important skill for the first day of school because school can be a big and scary new environment for your child. Having resilience and confidence also means that your child is more likely to take part in healthy risk-taking such as going swimming or talking to someone new.
Socialising teaches children to share and makes them less egocentric. Being egocentric is a normal behaviour for young children, particularly for first or only children, because in their minds the world revolves around what they can see instead of what they can’t see or can imagine. Socialising encourages children to interact with others and share resources and knowledge. By sharing their knowledge, stories and resources, they are beginning to understand the concept of others that will help with creative and logical thinking later on in life. Additionally, sharing and socialising helps children (and adults) make friends, and friends are very important to a child’s emotional and mental wellbeing (see below).
Socialising introduces your child to new ideas, new concepts and differences, but it also helps to develop empathy. At Child’s Play ELC, empathy is an important quality because it helps children be kind and caring to others. Socialising, as mentioned above, is not just talking but listening, watching and reacting as well. Watching a person help someone that is hurt, or stand up to others for someone being mistreated is an important lesson in empathy that can really only be taught via socialising. Children that are empathetic will also be more accepting, open and resilient in the future as they have developed skills to face confrontation, to communicate, and are able to integrate into new environments positively.
Finally, socialising is most important to help your child make friends. Friends are important for a number of reasons such as increasing your child’s vocabulary, creating connections which encourage different ways of thinking, and creating lifelong memories that you and your child will treasure. Friends are a network outside of immediate family that your child can rely on for help and support them through crucial stages in their life, such as starting school, playing sport/extracurricular activity or their first recital. In particular, they can get excited about important events when their friends are involved because your child feels supported. Friends are the essence of our social network at all stages of our life and they help to reduce stress at times and improve our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Why Child’s Play ELC?
At Child’s Play ELC, we encourage social interaction and socialising both in and outside of childcare and in the community. We believe socialising builds strong and caring individuals that are future-ready for what life throws at them. If you want to know more about the benefits of socialising or what activities you can do with your child and their new friends, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team of educators at your local Child’s Play Early Learning Centre.