From as early as infancy, your child shows signs of early social behaviours. The seeds of learning to give and take, take turns, cooperate and share are taking root in the first two years of life.
Your child will look to you as she imitates your actions, behaviour and even your gestures and words when you engage with her. She is learning how to relate, so being a good role model is essential. The experiences you provide in building a secure and trusting relationship with your child will help her develop her sense of identity, confidence, and self-esteem.
Acknowledge and respond appropriately to her coos and gurgles. For instance, when you tell her “Lindy, I can see that you want your diaper changed,” you are letting her know that her needs will be met and not ignored. Through this, she comes to develop a sense of self. Praising her actions - like “Jane, I like the way you are helping me to put the toys in the basket” - contributes towards building your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Pre-empt actions, visits or events. Inform your child beforehand if you are visiting friends or relatives, to let her know where you are taking her and who you will be meeting. Respect the person in your child. This increases her awareness about the different kinds of social activities she engages in. By respecting your child, your child learns how to respect others through your positive role modelling!
Encourage self-help. When you provide opportunities for your child to do simple tasks, you are helping to develop his sense of competence and confidence. He can help to put the toys away, put on his footwear, brush his teeth and feed himself. Ignore the mess. Things will improve as your child masters his skills
I love you. Your child needs to know and hear that you love her. Even when she is having tantrums or when she does something wrong, assure her that you love her even if you do not give in to her demands. You could say: “I love you and I know you are upset and I don’t like the way you threw those toys about. ." Try to handle the situation in a calm and reassuring manner for your child to model the behaviour in future.