Socialisation, Confidence Building and Self-Esteem - 5 to 6 Years


With social-emotional development comes a child's ability to understand the feelings of others, control their own feelings and behaviours, and get along with peers. Basic social-emotional skills to acquire include cooperation, following directions, demonstrating self-control and paying attention. A child’s positive relationship with trusting and caring adults is the key to successful emotional and social development.

Children at this age are less fearful because of their increased understanding of the world. Although they want to play with other children and may form some friendships, their important emotional life remains inside the home.

Many six- year-olds naturally expect others to be as interested in them as they are. However , they do show an increasing ability to feel sympathetic to others. They are proud of their accomplishments and want to share their work, physical abilities and other achievements that they feel make them stand out.

At the same time, they may feel insecure and want praise. Much of this insecurity stems from their step toward independence. Six-year-olds may have a strong desire to perform well and do things right. They want to fit in and long for their friends to approve of the things they do. Some of them may have a hard time accepting criticism or failure.

Each child responds to this pressure in his own way. Some children may express anger and jealousy physically while others become bossy or teary. There are also those who just need to get away and be alone.


Model appropriate social etiquette!
Did the cashier at the supermarket help to bag your groceries? Thank her politely. Be concious of how your interact with others and respond to them. Remember, your child is observing and learning from you!

Model behaviours

Scrapbook achievments and accomplishments to shape self-esteem!
Acknowledge and celebrate your child's successes. Take photos of her achievements and accomplishments. Document these in a scrapbook. Work with your child to include captions, with a short description of what she felt.


Co-create a to-do list to help your child regulate his temper!
Talk to your child about different strategies he can use to calm himself down when angry. Write down these strategies and hang them up as a reminder, not only for your child but also for yourself! Should an outburst occur, talk to your child after he has calmed down. Draw attention to the to-do list and have him suggest for other positive alternatives.

To do list

Organise group activities for your child!
Let your child join activities such as cooking, excursions and creation of artwork together with peers or with mixed-age group peers. Through these interactions with others, your child will learn to take turns, cooperate, communicate positively, negotiate, problem-solve and much more! This is an important part of social development.
~ Ms N. Pushpavalli, Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten

Organise group activities
Acknowledge your child's creativity!

Acknowledge your child's creativity in play, storytelling or ideas!
Provide opportunities for him to elaborate on his though processes in order to hone his skills in expressing himself clearly.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital


Actively engage your child in a process of reasoning and explanation
when setting limits and boundaries. Engage in joint problem solving with your child by seeking her ideas and possible solutions when difficult situations or challenges arise.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Engage your child in a process of reasoning and explanation
Listen actively to your child's difficulties or explanations

Listen actively to your child's difficulties or explanations
behind certain actions to convey the sense that his opinions and thoughts are important. This will help him feel that his views are important and valued. Ask open-ended questions.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Develop empathy

Develop empathy!
Explain to your child to help her understand the consequences of her actions on others around her. This will help develop empathy for others - an important part of social-emotional development.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Problem-solving takes time!

Provide opportunity and time for your child to problem-solve and persist with tasks that she might find challenging. Provide some guidance and encouragement, if needed. This will help enhance her self-confidence and sense of achievement.
~ Ms Sai Jun Lin, Psychologist, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Problem solving takes time

Help your child express and manage her emotions appropriately.
For example, help your child use appropriate words to express anger without resorting to aggression or getting physical. You can also model the appropriate behaviours as children also learn by imitating.
~ Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, Chief Executive Officer/ Principal, KLC International Institute

Help your child express and manage emotions (5 to 6 years)

Provide opportunities for your child to engage in activities that involve other children.
Demonstrate to him how to make requests, bargain, negotiate, lose gracefully and apologise. Organise play dates together with your child and let him invite his friends over. Children's books or nursery rhymes can be used to help your child learn these skills.

Let your child play with other children!

Encourage your child to talk about the problems he faces and gently guide him to solve the problems himself.
When you child encounters a problem, have him describe what happened and state the problem. Brainstorm ideas that may solve the problem, discuss how the ideas might work, have him agree on what is fair, try out the idea and review the idea to see how well it worked!

Encourage your child to talk about his problems

Teach him that anger can interfere with problem solving.
Help him learn to recognise anger in himself and others. Guide him on the appropriate ways to express anger through words and how to calm down and regain control.

Talk about anger management

Tell stories about friendship and sharing.
Use a hand puppet and have the puppet ask questions. Encourage your child to answer the questions to help solve the puppet's problems. Come up with a short story on friendship and sharing, leaving the ending open for your child to dramatise and suggest a solution.

Tell friendship stories with hand puppets
Respect others

Help your child appreciate differences and enjoy the similarities of others.
Treat your child and others with respect so that your child can grow to realise that every person is unique and deserving of respect. Engage your child in a discussion of how people are different and yet similar.


Encourage sharing and empathy.
Acknowledge the accuracy of his observations of people and situations around him. Talk to him about local news and the plight of people in those stories.

Encourage sharing
Seeing from another perspective

See from other points of view.
Encouraging your child to focus on how others feel and think, builds empathy. You can do this through role play. Get him to relate to both sides of the fence by putting him in the place of the giver and the taker, or the bad guy and the good guy, to understand different viewpoints.


Expand your child’s circle of trusted adults.
At the same time, maintain closeness to a few special people in your child’s life such as his teacher, grandparents and other caregivers. This will help him build up a network of people whom he feels secure to love and trust. Positive emotional experiences affect your child’s personal health, well-being and school readiness. They also build his self-confidence and social competency.

Build network of trusted adults

Take a positive approach.
Words can be supportive or destructive, so choose your words carefully. Strive to end your sentences with a positive statement. When giving instructions to your child, for example, say “Please stay on the pavement” instead of “Don’t walk on the grass”. Demonstrate your love and affection through actions as well as words. By using positive words, you are reassuring your child and nurturing his self-esteem.

Say supportive words

Maintain a sense of humour.
A sense of humour is the ability to recognise what makes something funny. Keep light of things when appropriate and redirect negative actions. Encourage your child to do the same. A sense of humour not only enhances his mental wellbeing keeps him healthy but also helps him to see things from many perspectives, handle differences and enjoy the playful aspects of life.

Maintaining sense of humour
Encourage child independence

Encourage your child's growing independence.
Allow your child to explore, experiment, and become an independent unique individual. Let him decide on what to play, read or eat (provide choice of healthy snacks). Allow him to safely try something new, such as riding a bicycle or trying a different food. This helps him feel in control and empowered which may in turn drive him to be more cooperative.

Anticipating child's behaviours

Anticipate your child’s behaviours by reading his cues.
Talk to your child before he reaches a high level of frustration and help him resolve his frustrations. This is particularly useful for managing challenging behaviours and it helps your child learn how to regulate his feelings and behaviours. Through talking about your child’s feelings with him, he will come to understand his own emotions better and feel secure in your acknowledgement of his emotional well-being


Give your child some space.
It is alright for him to be “little” every now and then, as it is hard to work on being “big” all the time. Boost your child’s confidence with lots of positive attention for good behaviours. Show him how to express his feelings in socially acceptable ways.

Giving child some space
Guide child with words

Guide your child to calm himself
using words and his surrounding resources such as going to his room voluntarily when upset. Using words to express how he feels enables him to learn how to control and recognise his emotions. Encourage your child to use words, instead of acting out when he is unhappy. This will promote positive social-emotional development.


Encourage your child to express his feelings and why he is feeling this way Introduce complex language.
This will help your child understand his feelings and their causes, for example, “I really want to try climbing on that structure but I’m sort of scared too.”

Encourage expression of feelings

Help your child set achievable goals.
Let him learn to take pride in himself and rely less on approval or reward from others. You can also boost your child’s confidence by concentrating on his special strengths.


Encourage his sense of accomplishment.
Give him small tasks to do around the house or provide him with opportunities to demonstrate his skills in building models, cooking, making crafts, helping with jobs in the house or practising a musical instrument.

Washing dishes

Give verbal and or visual encouragement.
Make the praise specific to things he has done, for example, instead of saying “Great job”, say “It is wonderful how you waited for your friend to be done with the toy before you played with it”. You can also use the thumbs up signal.


Have predictable routines.
These include night time rituals, after-school activities and regular play dates; these regular activities and relationships will provide the security he needs when he encounters unfamiliar challenges and experiences.

Routine meals
One on one time

Spend one-on-one time with your child each day.
This is especially important if he spends a considerable amount of time outside home, he will miss your company and his new friendships would not fill that gap.