During your first few years as a parent, we know you want to prepare your child as best you can to learn with others.
Have you ever thought “What if my daughter doesn’t share her toys? What will the teacher and other parents think of me?”
We realise there is peer pressure among parents to raise well-behaved children. But, have you thought about why we constantly teach our children how to get along with others?
In 2015, The American Journal of Public Health released their findings from a 20-year long study. In this study, they observed 753 kindergarteners and followed up with them 19 years later.
What they found was where a kindergartener fell on the Social Competence Scale predicted how likely that child was to be successful (or unsuccessful) in his or her life.
It turns out that developing your child’s social-emotional skills at an early age can help them in greater ways than we could have anticipated. This is a core belief we hold in our childcare and kindergarten program.
Definitions to Know
Before we begin, we’ll explain a few keywords you’ll see in this article.
A person’s ability to use social, cognitive, behavioural, and emotional intelligence to be a functioning member of society. Parents play a key role in the formative years of a child’s social competence. When children enter a school setting, peers begin to have a stronger influence over the development of social skills.
A person’s ability to read the emotions of others. This skill also helps you determine the appropriate reaction to what you’re reading. It’s different from empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy does not involve the controlling of your own emotions.
Also known as social skills. These cover everything from communication skills, decision-making, problem-solving, and the ability to work in a group. Your child will start to learn these skills more as he/she becomes a kindergartener and interacts with peers.
Correlations Between Social Competence and Future Success
As a parent, people have likely told you that teaching your children to get along with others is crucial for their success. What we didn’t know until this study’s results is just HOW much those early-developed social skills contributed to a person’s success.
The study revealed a 1 point increase on the Social Competence Scale showed a kindergartener was 54% more likely to graduate high school, 100% more likely to earn a university degree, and 46% more likely to have a stable full-time job at age 26.
On the flip side, a 1 point decrease meant a kindergartener was 67% more likely to be arrested and 86% more likely to have issues with substance abuse later in life.
Test Scores Measure More Than Emotional Intelligence
As a society, we’re so focused on test scores. It seems logical, too. Good grades lead to good test scores which lead to higher education which leads to a better adult life.
The problem with this approach is that it can’t measure how developed someone’s interpersonal skills are, like collaboration, the ability to listen, and impulse control. Test scores can’t show a student’s ability to work out a problem with a peer or manage distractions.
A kindergartener’s ability to share with and help others all show interpersonal skills. These skills are an early sign of a person’s ability to work effectively in a team setting, an asset highly valued by businesses around the world.
A Kindergartener Can Learn & Unlearn New Skills
The majority of the skills we’ve been discussing are formed at an early age, long before your child becomes a kindergartener. And they’re influenced most heavily by you, the parents.
If you’ve suddenly felt the weight of the world come to rest on your shoulders, never fear. We’ll explain a few ways you can help your child develop his/her social-emotional skills and how we’ll help you along the way during your Piptree journey.
Monkey See Monkey Do
A great way to instill empathy in children as a parent is to show empathy towards others while you are with your child. Explain that behavior to him or her in simple terms so they understand. You can also do this while watching a movie or reading a book. When a character experiences a new emotion, ask your child how he or she thinks the characters feels at that moment.
Teach Morality Without Rewards
When you teach your child about morality, don’t use rewards or punishments. Studies show a child who learned about morality without rewards stuck to their moral compass later in life.
Rewards and punishments are likely to make a child stray from their moral compass.
Develop Your Child’s Self-Control
Teaching your child at an early age how to manage his/her emotions is an invaluable asset. Some children have difficulties experiencing empathy right off the bat. Often, this is due to emotions overwhelming them.
If your child becomes frustrated with these emotions, ask them to stop, take a deep breath, and count to five. Having them practice this method when they’re calm and stressed will have a significant impact on their ability to control their emotions.
If this seems overwhelming, know you don’t have to teach your children everything now. These skills are able to be learnt over the course of our lives. Laying the foundation before your child becomes a kindergartener is of the utmost importance.
What Does It All Mean?
Emotional intelligence and social competence are more important than we could have imagined. Until the education system catches up with these findings, it is important to parents and caregivers that we focus on developing these skills in our children.
If you have questions about how Piptree helps to strengthen these skills in your kindergartener, please get in touch with us here.