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Montessori Works Maroubra Beach Babies's March Newsletter

March 2022


Hello everyone, welcome to our March newsletter! As always, we provide an overview of what is happening within our childcare community. This month we will focus on how to raise an emotionally intelligent child.

Topic of the month - Raising an emotionally intelligent child

In an increasingly stressful world where children are more exposed to outside stressors–be it positive or negative, they should be equipped not only with cognitive skills but also social emotional skills that allow them to tackle, adapt, and overcome any difficult situation they may face. 

This is where social emotional learning comes in. As young children learn their ABC’s and 123’s, so should they also learn how to relate to their peers, communicate their needs, and manage their emotional landscape as it grows more complex day by day.  

Social emotional learning starts with a child’s relationship with their parent who is their primary caregiver. Through primary caregivers’ nurturing, a child’s emotional capacity and understanding develops and grows. And these social emotional learning skills learned at a very young age accompany the child all the way to adulthood. Not only will it affect the child’s relationships, it can also be a great determinant for later outcomes in life, as recent historical studies show.

Social emotional learning stages by Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a leading authority on child development, identified the three stages of social emotional learning for children namely: emergence, adaptation, and integration. 


Emergence: Discovering big emotions

This is the first stage of a child developing his/her social-emotional skills. This stage occurs when the child is around one to two years old, also widely acknowledged as the “terrible twos” phase. 

Children at this stage learn to say “no” and “mine,”; they start throwing temper tantrums when they cannot get what they want or are frustrated, and develop a sense of independence by trying to do things even when they’re being barred from doing it.

At first, parents, family members, teachers, and other caregivers may find it surprising that the obedient one-year old has now transformed into an unruly two year old. However, every parent and caregiver should know that is just a part of the child’s social and emotional development.

At this stage, the child begins to feel more emotions he/she may be unfamiliar with and copes or expresses it through the only ways he/she knows–tantrums. Young children, unfortunately, only have the capacity to feel these emotions and recognise it from their caregivers but still do not have the necessary language to express it. 

At this stage, it is a parent or caregiver’s responsibility to help the child make sense of their frustrations and express it for them so that the child will have a model to pattern their behaviour on.

Adaptation: Dealing with not getting what you want

The next stage to a child’s social and emotional development is learning to adapt to the results they are given. When another child takes away the toy they’re playing with or when they’re being prevented from climbing into dangerous places, these are opportunities for a child to develop better adaptation. 

For a young child, the first response would almost always be caving in to the big emotion they are feeling. Thus, the temper tantrums, crying and wailing. 

As a parent or caregiver, one should learn how to deal with hearing their little one display dramatic behaviour as a way of coping. Instead of preventing the tantrum from being carried out fully, a parent must let it die down naturally. A parent or caregiver can then communicate with the toddler to help him/her understand what they are feeling. Use simple words that the toddler can understand, so they begin to learn and label their emotions. 

Integration: Choosing to be the bigger person

As the child begins to understand the emotions they have, and recognise when, where, and why they are experiencing these emotions, they can then begin to practise self-regulation of the emotions they are feeling. Managing their response when feeling big emotions is a key skill they are learning at this stage.

A child around the age of three to five is now able to understand it’s okay to be frustrated or annoyed but that their behavior shouldn’t be to throw a tantrum. They are able to consider the social environment they are in, control their emotions and behaviour, and most importantly, communicate what they are feeling properly to their peers, adults, or caregivers present. 


How to Help Young Children Develop their Social Emotional Skills

Parents and caregivers are the main source of young children when it comes to developing their social emotional learning skills. Here are some ways on how parents and caregivers can cultivate the social and emotional development of little ones.

Encourage self-soothing behaviour

Young children have an instinct to behave in a way that releases their anxiety by doing self-soothing behaviours. It can be thumb-sucking, touching their eyebrows, fiddling with their belly buttons, or something that reminds them of a positive experience.

While it can be a concern for parents and caregivers, these self-soothing techniques actually help a young child manage the unfamiliar emotion they may be feeling at the moment.

Instead of preventing them from self-soothing, you can redirect their self-soothing behaviour away from picking at their body to something closely similar. For example, instead of sucking or nail biting, you can give a young child a pacifier.

Be their role model

When you take away a young child’s toy, they might cry and express their emotion. Instead of preventing them from expressing their emotion, letting them go through the motions and helping them understand what they are feeling will help them understand how to better communicate what they are feeling. 

This way, you’re equipping the child with the right words they can use to express what they’re feeling and giving them a pattern to base their behaviour on. 

Use positive reinforcement 

Encourage the right behaviour by praising them when they do the right thing such as sharing their toys with other children, or resolving conflicts in a calm manner while at play. Making children feel good when they exhibit the right behaviour encourages them to repeat it. Soon enough, the repetitive behaviour becomes a habit and part of their personality.

Introduce the concept of empathy

Young children are not able to grasp the concept of empathy on their own. Parents and caregivers can begin to introduce the concept of empathy as children start to play with their peers by asking them questions about how they feel about unfortunate situations they are in. By enabling a child to express their feelings and emotions, a parent or caregiver can slowly shift the child’s attention to how other children or people might feel in the same situation. 


Activities that Teach Social Emotional Learning Skills

At birth, babies only recognise 3 main emotions: joy, anger, and fear. As they grow, they slowly discover other emotions that feel big for their little bodies but have no words to describe it. 

As parents and caregivers, it is your role to help them learn to recognise these other emotions and also identify them not only in themselves but also in other people’s faces. This helps them recognise, respond, and manage emotions. You can try these activities that promote social emotional learning skills.


Mirror play

Infants and toddlers begin to recognise themselves in the mirror as young as 18 months. When they begin to recognise it is them in the mirror, you can help them recognise emotions and facial expressions such as happy, sad, frightened, angry, embarrassed, excited and hopeful. 

Seeing their own facial expressions in the mirror can help them identify what it looks like and recognise it when other people’s faces show it. 


Puppet play

Another way to help children recognise big emotions is through puppet play. Through puppets, children can vicariously experience emotions, learn social skills, communicate what they’re feeling, and understand another’s feelings, even if it’s coming from a puppet. 



To see whether children have picked up on how to properly recognise big emotions, you can ask them to draw pictures of a person expressing two polar opposite emotions. You can ask them to draw a picture of a happy person and a sad person; an excited person and a frightened one. 

Putting them up side-by-side helps the child recognise the range of emotions anyone can feel.


Role play

Role playing is a great way to enhance a child’s capacity to practise empathy. Putting themselves in a fictional situation with pretend feelings and emotions lets them explore and experiment how they would react, respond, and manage emotions they themselves feel and other characters in the play. 


Benefits of having a social-emotional learning

Social emotional learning in children is also described as soft skills. These soft skills not only help a child establish positive relationships with others but can also help determine later outcomes in life. Here are some of the benefits in harnessing a child’s social emotional learning skills.


Deal with conflict

Children equipped with social emotional learning skills are able to navigate the tricky area of conflict resolution with peers without risking their friendship. They are able to identify the points of conflict, communicate their emotions and feelings better with their peers and learn to compromise to solve their disagreements. This skill is particularly useful when playing with their peers as it helps them have a more enjoyable experience as the discomfort of conflict is quickly replaced by diplomatic resolutions. 


Develop empathy

Very young children easily learn the concept of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’, and ‘no’ but they do not as quickly learn the concept of sharing or consideration for others. 

By developing social emotional learning skills, young children understand how to play with others, and that their behaviour has an effect on other people such as their peers, caregivers, and other adults around them. 

By first exploring how they feel and then connecting it to what other people may feel, young children slowly identify the connection between their own feelings and the consequences of their behaviour in relation to others.


Be emotionally resilient

Children who develop social-emotional skills early on have a better chance of coping and bouncing back from emotionally difficult situations in life. They are able to face challenges, fail, and keep on trying. This spells success later in life when most tasks and activities are accomplished not through immediate success but continuous trial-and-error.

The Takeaway

In an era where child tantrums are more prevalent, with young children growing up and developing away from their peers and other adults who can otherwise help them grow and become socially and emotionally intelligent, the task of cultivating the child’s social and emotional landscape falls heavily on parents and caregivers. By being aware of the stages of social and emotional learning, parents and caregivers can then better support and help a child discovering new emotions and dealing with it in a fitting manner.

Childcare development

0-12 month development

Why kids shouldn’t eat added sugar before they turn 2, according to a nutritional epidemiologist

Author: Lisa Bodnar 

Straight from someone who sat on a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine committee that summarised guidelines on feeding infants and children up to age 2, she advises that infants should not have any added sugars or sweetened beverages. Same goes for the next youngest, children from 1-2 years old. 

This is because calories gained from these sugars added while processing the food give no nutritional value which babies and young children need in order to grow and develop healthily. 

Find out more about why added sugars are not recommended for young children and how to eliminate it from your young ones’ diet here.

1-2 year development

Experts Say There is a Way to Teach Kids to Safely Slide Off Furniture, and this Mom is Demonstrating it

Author: Maressa Brown 

Once babies start to explore on their own, they will try and get out of their confined space on their own. And properly lowering themselves onto the floor and out of the furniture they’re in is key to injury-free movement. A mom and pediatric physical therapist shares how moms of eager babies and toddlers can start training their little ones on how to safely move themselves out of any furniture, even the stairs for a happy, accident-free exploration of their own. 

Discover the trick to training your baby to move safely out off any furniture here.

2-3 year development

Could parents' smartphone use disrupt child development? - study

Author: The Jerusalem Post

A group of researchers from Tel Aviv University sought to see whether a parent’s use of their smartphone can disrupt their children’s development. So they invited mothers and their children to participate in the study. The mothers were given a phone and magazines that were in another room while they were also instructed to interact with their child throughout the experiment. The researchers  found that a distracted parent affects a child’s development in terms of vocabulary, linguistic and social skills.

Learn more about the study and see how distracted parenting can affect your child.

3-4 year development

Disobedient Children: Causes And How To Deal With Them

Author: Bhavana Navuluri

Is your child starting to test your boundaries and authority through disobedience? Whether they’re throwing tantrums or being more aggressive to get their way, here’s how you can better identify the reason for their disobedience and how you can correct their behaviour. 

Know how to deal with your child’s obedience and how to correct it appropriately here

4-5 year development

How To Stop Bedwetting: 8 Solutions for Toddlers and Children

Author: Dina Roth Port

Keeping your child and their bed dry at night can be a hard task for parents. Young children are already aware of the consequences and may suffer from stress and pressure of keeping their urinary tract in check. 

Find ways on how to help your little one sleep through the night peacefully and in dry beds here.

Craft Corner

Easy Homemade Cardboard Bird Feeder for Kids

Hit two birds with one stone in these easy to make a cardboard bird feeder for kids. Not only will young children be able to exercise and develop their fine motor skills through cutting and shaping a bird feeder, they will also be more excited to watch as birds home in to peck and feed in their own bird feeder. 

See instructions on how to create a cardboard feeder from scratch here.

How to make kinetic sand – easy kinetic sand recipe

While there are a lot of ready-to-play-with kinetic sand kits, making your own kinetic sand provides toddlers with a sensory experience like no other. Using common kitchen ingredients such as cornflour, vegetable oil, and food colouring, you’ll be ready to shape and sculpt your very own kinetic sand into whichever structure you please. 

Find out how to make kinetic sand here.

Balloon Rocket Science Experiment – A Balloon that Flies like a Rocket

Is your little one dreaming of becoming a rocket scientist? Then start their journey with this simple balloon rocket science experiment that’ll show them how a rocket is propelled forward. Using simple items like a string, balloon, and tape, launch your own rocket forward.

Get directions on how to stage a balloon rocket launch here!

Make an Alka-Seltzer Powered Lava Lamp

Colors, bubbles, and chemical reactions make for a wonderful science experiment that’ll have children’s attention glued to the bottles to see the changes and reactions. Using simple materials, children get an interactive and colourful experience seeing chemistry in action. You can also try variations of the experiments using various water temperatures. 


Get the instructions on how to make an alka-seltzer powered lava lamp here.

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