I have another rant.
Last time I focused on how adults underestimate children’s cognitive skills. This time, I'd like to talk about how adults tend to overestimate children’s social-emotional skills.
Young children have big emotions. It is simultaneously a beautiful and frustrating thing. How many of you can relate to one (or more) of these experiences?
It can be hard as a teacher (or a parent for that matter), to understand, acknowledge, and support children as they learn to regulate their emotions and behaviors. It takes a lot of energy and our own emotion regulation.
I think we sometimes forget how important emotion regulation (or emotional intelligence) is as well as how long it takes to develop. Neurological research shows that the part of the brain that regulates emotions and behaviors (the frontal lobe) isn’t fully developed until young adulthood. Even older children and teenagers have trouble identifying their emotions and deciding how to behave appropriately.
Nevertheless, we expect children as young as two or three to remember the rule the first time we say it. We expect children to be able to keep their emotions in check and not get upset when someone else takes a toy. We expect children to be happy at all times, even during stressful situations.
But these expectations are not realistic and may even be harmful for kids, depending on how harshly we react to their big emotions.
“So often children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, us adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.” - Rebecca Eanes
Thankfully, if we can keep our expectations in check, there are ways to start supporting children’s emotional and social development. Here are some ways that we can support young children’s developing emotions.
So, let’s start taking a step back and expect humanness rather than perfection from the children in our care. And let’s find ways to respond with sensitivity and support to children as they develop crucial emotional and social skills.
What about you? How do you have appropriate expectations of children’s emotional development? How do you support children’s emotion regulation?
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
It’s Dual Language Learner Celebration Week! Every year in the U.S., the amount of young children who live in a household where a language other than English is spoken has been steadily increasing. As of 2016, about one-third of children under age 8 – over 11 million children – are dual language learners (DLLs).
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?