Socio- emotional development is a discipline that encompasses the experience, management and expression of a child’s emotions and the ability to form rewarding and positive relationships with others (Horvat, 1986). The discipline of socio-emotional development encompasses other inter and intra personal processes. The main characteristics of emotional development include identification and understanding ability of one’s own feelings to read and comprehend accurately the other’s emotional states. Furthermore it does management of strong emotions and its expression in a manner which construct positively, to regulate behavior of another for empathy development of others and to create and maintain relationships. At this point we need to discuss in detail what constitutes socio emotional development in children. This will form the thesis of the discussion.
According to Hovart (1986), the children first experience, then express and finally perceive emotions before fully understanding it. In the process of learning to recognize, to label, to manage and finally to communicate their own personal emotions and attempt to perceive and understand others’ emotions, children construct skills that help them connect with family, teachers, peers and the community at large. Hovart (1986) further elaborates that these capacities assist children to be skilled in negotiating social interactions which are complete, effectively participate in group activities and relationships and to gain social support benefits which is important to healthy human functioning and development.
According to Hovart (1986), child’s socio- emotional development unfolds in a context which is interpersonal such as that of ongoing positive relationships with nurturing adults who are familiar. It is noted that young children are specifically attuned to emotional and social stimulation. Even new born tend to link stimuli that resemble faces and prefer the voices of their mothers to other women’s voices.
Care giving support which is responsive to the child regulate the emotions of the child and helps in development of a sense responsiveness, predictability and safety in their social environments. Experiences with the members of the family, teachers provide young children with an opportunity to learn about emotional and social relationships through predictable interactions and explorations. Moreover Hovart (1986) observes that working with children in the professional child care settings can assist development of socio- emotional development of toddlers in many ways such as directly interacting with the young children, organizing physical space ,communicating with the child’s family, plan and implementation of the curriculum.
Interaction of a child with adults
Children interaction with the adults forms a regular and frequent part of their daily lives. The interaction gives a healthy socio-emotional development based on a social environment that is supportive created by the adults. Children will first develop the ability to respond both to adults and interact with them through close relationships which are predictable for instance the nurturing adults and the parents inside and outside their homes. In reference to Hovart (1986), children use and construct upon the skills obtained through the close relationships to interact with less adults who are less familiar in their lives. Moreover, through the interaction, the children engage in many different social exchanges such as contact establishment with their relatives and even story telling with their care teachers.
Children relationship with the adults
A close relationship between a child and an adult who provide nurturance consistently strengthen the capacity of children to learn and develop. Similarly, a child’s relationship with the parents, caregivers, family members and their teachers provide social- emotional key concepts. Hovart (1986) points out that these special relationships influences a child’s emerging self sense and understanding of the others. Furthermore, children use adult relationships in many diverse ways. These include; alleviation of distress assistance, reassurance by the adults that they are safe, emotional regulation and for encouragement or social approval.
Hovart (1986) adds that establishment of close relationships with the adults relates to the emotional security of the children, self sense and understanding evolution of the surrounding world.
Child’s interaction with peers
According to Hovart (1986), during early childhood, children interact with others using behaviors considered to be simple such as touching or looking another child. Social interaction of the children increases from repetitive engagement or back and forth routine interactions with their peers to engagement in cooperative activities such as tower of block building together or taking different roles during pretend play.
Hovart (1986) observe that through peer interaction, children explore their own interest in others and get to learn about the social behavior r social interactions. Moreover, peers interaction provide social learning context and solving of problems including social exchange experiences, turn taking, cooperation, and beginning of empathy demonstration. Additionally, peer social interaction allow older children to experiment various roles in different situations and small groups such as relating unfamiliar verses familiar children.
Self identity in relation to others and ability recognition
A child’s Self awareness and of others include response to names, they point at their own body parts when they are asked or name family members. Furthermore, through understanding of people in the social environment, children get to know their roles in the family and the community, become aware of their preferences and characteristics of others (Hovart, 1986).
Understanding of a child that they can make things happen and realizing their abilities form self efficacy of a child (Hovart, 1986). Self efficacy development is exhibited in explanatory behaviors, play or when they act to produce results.
Children even at their early age express their emotions. They do this through vocalizations, body language and facial expressions. Later in their years, development of their ability to talk and to express themselves helps them get social support. Moreover, temperament play a significant role in emotional expression of the children (Hovart, 1986).expression of negative and positive e emotions amongst children play an important role in social relationships development whereby negative emotions discourage social relationships while positive emotions creates social relations and appeal to partners (Hovart, 1986).
In summary, social emotional development incorporates the child’s ability to initiate secure relationships and maintain them. This is an important development because a child should be able to learn how to approach his or her peers, negotiate problems and issues, take turns and to effectively communicate. After a child has been born, his or her state of unawareness of the surrounding world is imperative. When the child is growing, he/she should explore the surrounding world in order to gauge their emotional and physical development. This process is important and therefore calls the parents and the society to mould the children.
Horvat, L. (January 01, 1986). The Role of Pre-School Education and Preparatory Classes in a Bilingual Environment and the Child’s Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Development. Razprave in Gradivo, 18, 121-124.