These are just some of the life skills your little one needs to face the world ahead.
WORDS REBECCA WONG
Self-awareness skills are just as important as practical ones, so don’t neglect these as well. Emotional regulation is a critical skill in enabling your child to manage his internal world, in particular coping with negative emotions like anger. “Lots of children grow up not knowing how to connect with other people because they lack self-regulation, or cannot control their temper,” explains Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, director of Schoolz4Kidz and CEO of KLC International Institute.
Start teaching them to manage their self-expression as young as 18 months, firstly by reprimanding them when they lash out at others out of anger. Dr Ching-Kwan also recommends parents take into account their children’s personalities, understanding that some may be more impatient than others. Set realistic expectations, but make sure your children learn to control their emotions well.
The key to raising a good communicator is firstly good language skills. In the early years, give children as many opportunities to express themselves as possible. Educate them on the proper vocabulary to convey their thoughts and feelings, so they don’t resort to non-verbal forms of expression, like hitting, biting or screaming, advises Dr Ching-Kwan.
Give them opportunities to communicate by facilitating a two-way dialogue, rather than
handing them a tablet or putting them in front of the television.
“Most parents work, and when they get home, they’re tired and sometimes just want to chill out, but it’s an excellent opportunity to engage your child,” says Dr Ching-Kwan. “Provide a context for conversation through activities like reading to them, going out and pointing out objects along the way, or talking about a TV programme you’ve just seen together.”
Socialising with Others
Even if your little one is an introvert by nature, social skills are essential in building healthy relationships. “I see many young children that feel very awkward – they may have lots of friends online, but they can’t relate well face-to-face,” observes Dr Ching-Kwan. “Social skills such as learning how to take turns, entering play and relating to another person are all important, and may be picked up when children observe adults doing the same.”
Help your children develop these skills by regularly placing them in a setting with other kids, such as
bringing them to playgroup or family gatherings where they can
interact with cousins around the same age.
“To increase the chances of group play being a successful and pleasant experience for your child, it may also be a good idea to ensure that your child has sufficient sharing skills and is able to tolerate the sensory input that comes from group interaction,” note Drs Drs Noradlin Yusof, Jocelyn Chua, and Rachel Wong, educational psychologists at Impetuz Psychological Service. “Parents may also prepare their child by reading social stories that emphasise positive social behaviours before the play date.”