Social and emotional well-being leads to school readiness
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, an infant's brain at birth has about 100 billion nerve cells - nerve cells that have not yet formed the critical connections that determine a child's emotional, social and intellectual makeup.
Since parents are a young child's first teachers, they can deeply affect the "wiring" of the brain through interaction with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
A young child's social and emotional development is largely dependent on the emotional well-being of his or her parents.
When parents and young children are emotionally tuned in to each other, caregivers can more easily read the child's emotional cues and respond appropriately to his or her needs. This responsive relationship between the young child and parents supports healthy development in communication, cognition, social-emotional competence and moral understanding.
Children are more likely to succeed in the transition to school if parents can help them
- accurately identify emotions in themselves and others
- relate to teachers and peers in positive ways
- manage feelings of anger, frustration and distress when faced with an emotionally charged situation (for instance, when another child takes a favorite toy)
- enjoy learning and approach it enthusiastically
- pay attention and work both independently and cooperatively in a structured environment
For signs of social and emotional well-being for infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as warning signs for potential social-emotional concerns, please refer to Michigan's Department of Community Health guide entitled Social-Emotional Development in Young Children.