Social Emotional Milestones for Grade 1

When working with parents, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is "Is my child normal?" In responding to these questions, it is important for parents to understand developmental milestones of their child before they assume that something is wrong. 


Many children at this age...
  • Want to be first. 
  • Can show 'mean/hurtful' behavior without the recognition of how it can make other's feel. 
  • Start to understand and consider how others are feeling.
  • Work to understand their sense-of-self and where they belong in the group/class.
  • Become more 'justice-oriented'. Right and wrong is as simple as black and white. 
  • Have frequent conflicts during play over rules and what is 'fair'. 
  • Seek frequent validation from adults. 
  • May have difficulty expressing their feelings due to limited vocabulary or understanding of 'feeling' words. 
  • Seek to have a 'best friend'- this can cause jealousy, competition, and exclusion. 
  • Can be judgemental of their peers. 
How to support these developments... 
  • Expose your child to winning AND losing games and how to show good sportsmanship.
  • Ask your child questions like, "How do you think they felt when that happened? How did their face look when you said/did that? How did their voice sound when that happened?; this can help encourage your child to think empathetically and critically.
  • Encourage your child whenever possible- especially in areas they feel weakest in. 
  • Provide them opportunities to explore their 'weak' areas in safe and supportive ways. 
  • Share examples of times when 'right' and 'wrong' were not always clear. Talk to your child about this openly and ask their opinions. 
  • Set aside special time to connect with your child- just you and your child. Laugh with them and do something that you both enjoy. 
  • Encourage your child to have different and diverse friendships. Expose them to other children from different classes, grades, cultures, and more. 
  • Model appropriate behaviors towards others- especially in regards to judgement. Avoid phrases like "they are better than or worse than". 
What other things do you see in your child? If you need help in supporting your child in these areas, please know the School Counselor is here to help!

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