Supporting social development in young kids

It’s more important than you may think for our kids to have friends.

Most of us remember our childhood friends with a lot of fondness. There are often tales of mishap and adventure – perhaps memories of inviting ourselves over to each other’s homes without checking with parents – just in the hope of a little bit more playtime together.

As adults, many of us still cherish our friendships and their ability to support us with advice, laughter, company and the way they always have our backs when we are going through life’s challenges.

For our children, the opportunity and the ability to make friends form a crucial backbone to their personal development. Spending time with other kids helps them to learn more about compassion, social boundaries, sharing and listening. Socialising is a big part of how we develop emotionally and it’s instrumental in growing a healthy self-esteem.

Research supports this notion and goes further to explain that childhood friendships help us in developing our own identity and sense of self. Interestingly, another study in this area has also come to the conclusion that kids who have regular play dates or social encounters that are active – e.g. playing team sports – can have a positive effect on their health. This is because the higher self-esteem creates less internal barriers to participating in physical activities.

Not every child easily makes friends, and in some cases, there may not be ample opportunities for them even to try.

 

Ways you can support your child’s social life

Ensuring your child gets the opportunity to meet new children is essential. There are many ways to do this, and this is one of the reasons that initiatives like PCYC’s OOSH exist.

OOSH is an initiative by PCYC and stands for Out of School Hours, it caters to children from kindergarten age up to year 6 and includes before and after school as well as vacation care. This well-researched and government-subsidised program involves the kids in a range of organised games and activities, including physical, social and creative aspects. OOSH also makes sure there is time for them to choose their own activities and catch up with both old and new friends.

 Watch a video of OOSH in action here!

You can also help by being a “social role model” – let them see you and your friends together and observe how you interact and support one another.

You can support your child in finding other children that share their interests such as gymnastics, martial arts, painting, dancing and so on. Children often choose friends around a shared enthusiasm for hobbies and activities.

Click here for more information on PCYC’s OOSH program.

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