As a parent, you probably enroll your children in preschool, art lessons, swim lessons and other fun activities. You likely take them to the zoo, on playdates and to museums and parks. You probably want to keep your kids busy and active, but you are also likely doing it because your children need to learn to interact with the world – especially their peers. It’s called socialization and it’s crucial for child development.
Social development is important, and it should start young – even babies need it. Why is it important? Social development teaches children who they are and who others are. While it may seem that young children are just playing, when they spend time with their peers, they are learning lessons like sharing, empathy, problem solving, boundary setting, patience and even how to respond when someone is unkind – lessons that they will use for the rest of their life.
In addition, they learn to read emotions and social cues, i.e. if someone is angry or happy or just needs a break. They also learn to express themselves during times when they have big emotions. It goes without saying that socialization is critical to healthy childhood development. So, how are the ways socialization helps kids grow and learn? Read on:
During play, children are learning to realize they are not quite the center of the universe. Other children have thoughts, opinions and needs too! One part of socialization that helps children grow is to learn to resolve conflicts with peers. It can be hard as a parent not to step in at every scuffle over a toy, but letting children learn to work out their own differences is an important life skill.
Language skills and listening
Babies are little sponges and learning language skills is just one part of socialization. You probably already talk, sing and read to your children, right? And listen to them talk, modeling a respectful conversation with each person taking his or her turn speaking. At Goldfish Swim School, our swim lessons are set up so children have a chance to listen and participate, while learning to follow directions. It’s one way we get those extraordinary results! We call it The Science of SwimPlay® and it helps children and babies learn and grow.
One day, your little guppy is going to be an adult and will have to build relationships with co-workers, friends and a partner. One of the best things you can teach your child is how to set appropriate boundaries for healthy relationships and that’s where socialization comes in. As your child begins to make friends, you can help him or her learn to set boundaries in those relationships. Modeling healthy relationships yourself is also key.
You get 18 years with your child, give or take, and you are his or her first teacher. One way you teach your child is through quality time (and what better way to spend time than in the water?). Your values and beliefs will shape your child’s worldview – although many children do try and spread their wings during the teen years. Speaking openly about your family’s values and beliefs – and allowing your children to question and explore – can be difficult but it’s worth it. We promise. At Goldfish, we model our values by having each and every employee use integrity, compassion, trust. And that’s something to celebrate!
Emotions and empathy
Children are predisposed to be selfish and empathy is something that is generally learned – not innate. Also, tiny humans tend to have big emotions and that’s OK! It’s your job as a parent to model empathy and be the willow tree when your little ones have those big emotions. After all, yelling at a child to calm down isn’t going to do much, right? By modeling appropriate behavior and management of anger, frustration, fear, sadness, happiness and joy, our children learn how to regulate and express themselves. And they learn that others have thoughts, feelings and concerns of their own.
Goldfish Swim School
At Goldfish Swim School, we don’t just teach children how to be good swimmers. We want them to be good humans, too. It’s all a part of the golden experience we want every family to have when they visit or come for lessons. So, if your little fish loves the water or is a little apprehensive, our WOW! customer service can ease the way to a lifelong love of water and swimming. We have locations all over North America and children as young as 4 months old can take lessons!