How do I learn from my peers

How children acquire social skills

The kindergarten is a training ground for social relationships. Children learn here Equality and justice know how to express their needs and make their first friends. How does it work and how can parents help them?

Text: Nadine Messerli-Bürgy
Images: Fresh Photography

Kindergarten is an important development phase. It enables the child to practice their own behavior in social relationships in a protected setting and to adapt it to that of their peers in small and large groups. The time in kindergarten is therefore a time in which important experiences can be gained that create a basis for building and maintaining stable social relationships in the future. This includes learning to place yourself in a group, your own Register ideas and needs and to experience togetherness in this group, but also to adhere to certain ones Rules of being together to keep.

Interactions with peers are key at this age. The encounters on one level allow the child to develop an understanding of equality and justice and to practice them. This contributes to the Self-image and thus a self-concept of the child. The self-concept describes the knowledge about yourself, about your own feelings and the conviction that you can make a difference yourself. These experiences with peers also influence a child's self-confidence and open up opportunities for him to differentiate himself from other children, but also to assert and stand up for himself.

Kindergarten children have a tendency to overestimate themselves

At the beginning of kindergarten age, the self-concept in children is based on Observations that are still strongly linked to an ideal of oneself. In this phase, children mainly build on strength and physical abilities and sometimes tend to overestimate themselves. This only changes during the second half of kindergarten and school age. The assessment of one's own abilities becomes more realistic, and the children define themselves more and more on the basis of their social relationships and can thus build up their own self-worth.

In interaction with their peers, children learn in kindergarten perceiving one's own feelings and those of others. In social interactions, they learn that others prefer theirs have control over your own emotions, Avoid aggression and hostility and respect the other child's boundaries.

It is, therefore, the ideal time to practice how Conflicts with others can be resolved appropriately and successfully managed. Feeling accepted and showing consideration for others, being interested in and empathizing with others and acting accordingly are facets of the social relationship that must be acquired and practiced in kindergarten age.

Not only are they the basis of later relationships, they are one too Requirement to be able to absorb theoretical contentto process these and to acquire skills such as the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Only through meeting people of the same age does the child learn to perceive his own feelings and those of others.

During kindergarten, the understanding of friendships and thus of friendliness and unfriendliness, of care and willingness to help, but also how to deal with hostility can be tested and learned. This includes Experiences with rejection and being desired and getting to know the social and emotional consequences of one's own behavior in social relationships.

These multifaceted experiences allow the child to become a Repertoire of social behaviors to acquire that enable long-term sustainable relationships with their peers, but also with other children and adults in the first place. Last but not least, children can practice working together and taking on responsibility during kindergarten.

When adjustment is difficult

The kindergarten also brings with it the challenge To break away from the close bond with one's own caregivers - mostly the parents and to find your way around in a group and under external supervision. These challenges are an important opportunity for all children to develop their social and emotional skills and to prepare for further tasks.

Some children are overwhelmed with it and develop one conspicuous social behavior and emotional symptoms. They do not participate in the group game, show Aggression or outbursts of anger and struggle to adapt. However, the time in kindergarten offers the chance to try out and practice new behaviors in a protected setting and thus improve behavior in social relationships.

Acquiring social skills is one of the most important tasks in kindergarten age. A socially competent child is able to assess and interpret the behavior of others in a practical way. These skills are acquired through social experiences - they are not instilled in anyone's cradle. Dealing with others and thus creating relationships must be learned and practiced. The kindergarten is an ideal, protected space in which children can acquire skills that are central to school readiness and further development.

How parents can help their children develop social skills:

Does your child worry about what will happen in the second year of kindergarten
is expected of him?

Don't worry too much yourself. What your child needs is your confidence. With your trust, your child knows that the task can be mastered. Repeatedly share about how you dealt with similar difficulties as a child. This is a great way to help your child prepare and practice. Remember: It is normal for your child to be anxious at first. Let your child know that you will be thinking about them firmly. Let them find out that they may sometimes just have to "endure" the morning in kindergarten and spend the afternoon increasingly happier.

Is your child rather noisy and sometimes cannot control himself well when playing with other children?

The ability to control oneself in exciting situations such as play does not develop in all children at the same time, in boys it usually develops a little later. It also depends on the temperament. Be confident that your child will master this developmental task. Support it by showing him that you trust him to learn to accept rules. Practice at home. Provide clear rules and clear consequences. These Consequences should be closely related to the behavior they follow. Consequences such as being excluded from reading aloud in the evenings for a week make no sense if, for example, the child cannot lose while playing. It is better to convey to the child that they should calm down and then to look after the playing cards together. Do not shame your child if they cannot control themselves, but offer them opportunities to "make amends".



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