Children develop and grow at their own unique rate. Speech and language acquisition, which plays a crucial role in shaping a child’s social and emotional well-being, can occur early for some, while others may experience delays. The ability to communicate and express oneself not only influences cognitive and motor development but also significantly impacts social-emotional growth.
What is Social-Emotional Development?
Social-emotional development is the way children understand themselves, their feelings, and expectations when interacting with others. Children build these skills as they interact with the world around them. Positive social and emotional development contributes to self-confidence, their ability to develop and maintain relationships, empathy, and a sense of importance. Children with well-developed social-emotional skills show an increased ability to:
Express their feelings and ideas
Feel confident in themselves
Display empathy towards others
Better manage feelings of disappointment and frustration
Succeed in school
Children with speech, language, and social-emotional difficulties may exhibit signs such as emotional outbursts, low frustration tolerance, and excessive shyness.
Speech and language significantly contribute to academic success. It can negatively affect a child’s ability to confidently express their ideas and be understood by others. In addition, identifying and treating a speech and/or language disorder supports literacy, social relationships, and class participation. As a child becomes more aware of their peers and their peers’ academic successes, they may experience emotional effects, leading to lower confidence and potential academic challenges. Older children with speech and language needs might isolate themselves or withdraw from peers, affecting their participation in activities like reading aloud or engaging in conversations.
Parental Role in Social-Emotional Development
Parents and caregivers play a pivotal role in providing consistent relationships that contribute to social-emotional growth. Daily quality interactions, such as affectionate moments and engaging games, with parents, caregivers, and other family members foster emotional connections and skill development. It allows the child to learn about positive relationships and explore their emotions in a comfortable and predictable setting.
Here are a few give-and-take interactions that can help build your child’s social-emotional skills:
Being affectionate and nurturing by holding, comforting, and talking with your child
Games like “peek-a-boo” or tickling (think, “I’m going to get you!”)
Playing tabletop games
Engaging in give-and-take interaction can help your child practice new skills, such as listening, turn-taking, and conflict resolution, and gain confidence.
Early recognition of speech and language difficulties and speech therapy can positively influence a child's social-emotional health. If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language, or social-emotional needs, we’re here to help! Contact Talk Time Speech and Language Therapy to learn more.