Safety & Security – Kids need to have a secure foundation of consistency in where they live, the primary people in their lives and in daily routines. Safety is also created from both love and boundaries from primary caregivers, which sets the stage for your child’s availability to learn new skills.
Self-Regulation – The child’s first skill that develops in infancy is the ability to maintain a ‘calm state’. This skill continues to develop as your child’s world become more complex, and she learns to regulate around different environments, people, stressors and her own emotions. One of the most important self-regulation skills is to learn how use the people close to her to cope and recover. This is foundational to later developing a sense of self-control and self-discipline.
Social Community – The child needs to learn to be part of a community. This of course starts with his family community and then extends out to the neighborhood, the school, spiritual community and extra curricular activities. Becoming a member of communities allows your child to learn the impact of his actions on others, expand his world past his own needs, how to share and to work towards a common goal. These experiences lead to a sense of contribution, pride and responsibility.
Social-Emotional Skills – The child needs to learn to communicate around a wide range of emotions and work with others to problem solve when things don’t go the way she expects. She needs support from adults to be able to sit in her big emotion and know that the emotion will get smaller, to see possible solutions and to work with others to execute a solution. She needs to be able to tolerate a robust range of emotions and to see herself as a competent problem-solver.
Play Skills – This seems self-evident, but in our world of technology, kids are quickly trading in multi-sensory, creative, imaginative play for electronic stimulation. The second culprit is homework and the third is overscheduling of extra curricular activities. Kids need time to engage in 3-dimensional, creative play involving both indoor and outdoor environments, with their caregivers and with their peers. These experiences shape creativity, social skills and cognitive thinking skills.
Originally published in Maui Family Magazine.