Toddler Social Emotional Development: What Every Parent Should Know

Having a toddler can be an exciting and stressful experience. On one hand, you’re witnessing your little one learn and grow, but on the other hand, it can be difficult to know how to best support their social and emotional development. Knowing more about this crucial area of development can help ensure that toddlers are learning all the necessary skills for success later in life.

What is Social Emotional Development?

Toddler Social-emotional development is the process by which a toddler learns how to manage emotions, interact with others, and develop relationships. It involves a wide range of skills such as self-awareness, problem-solving, self-regulation, empathy, and communication. These skills are developed over time through experiences with family members and peers.

How Can Parents Support Social Emotional Development?

Parents play a vital role in supporting their child’s social and emotional development. Here are some tips for parents:

Spend quality time together

Talking, reading books, playing games, or taking walks together will help strengthen the bond between parent and child and provide opportunities to practice different social-emotional skills.

Model positive behavior

Showing your toddler child how to appropriately and respectfully express feelings such as joy, sadness, anger, or fear is important.

Provide structured activities

Scheduling time for play dates, music class, or trips to the library can help foster social-emotional development in a fun and safe environment.

Give children space to explore

Allowing toddlers to have freedom to explore allows for experimenting socially and emotionally. This builds toddler social emotional development.

Encourage exploration

Providing a safe and stimulating environment for children to explore is important. This helps toddlers develop curiosity and feelings of competence, which are essential for social-emotional development.

Set clear expectations

Teach positive coping skills

Teaching toddlers positive coping strategies can help them manage their emotions and handle difficult situations. Children learn by example so it’s important for parents to model the behaviors they want their children to emulate like being kind or solving conflicts peacefully. This will also teach them how to regulate emotions in healthy ways.

Establishing rules

Establish rules for acceptable behavior as well as consequences for unacceptable behavior but make sure these expectations are age appropriate and consistent across different settings; home, school, etc.

Be patient

It takes time for toddlers to learn new skills so it’s important for parents to remain patient even when things don’t go as planned. Provide lots of encouragement along the way!

Having an understanding of social-emotional development is essential for every parent. Social-emotional development will allow them to better guide their toddler’s growth during this crucial period of life. By spending quality time together, modeling positive behavior, and setting clear expectations while being patient throughout the process parents can ensure that their little ones have all the tools they need for success later in life!

This blog was created by Jen Wotsch who is currently a Child Development Associate student (CDA). Jen has been working in childcare for the last ten years. She has been with Small Blessings Preschool in Tampa, Florida for the last six years. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two active boys.