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Nurturing the Socio-Emotional Development of Preschoolers

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Nov 13, 2022

Nurturing the Socio-Emotional Development of Preschoolers

The preschooler age is when children start to recognize and be aware of others’ feelings and emotions. At this stage, it is critical that parents find ways to further nurture the socio-emotional development of preschoolers.

What is Socio-Emotional Development?

Socio-emotional development is a process related to a child’s development. It is about how children express, understand, and manage their feelings and emotions as well as control their behavior.

This process is also about the ability of children to acknowledge the feeling and emotions of other people. Building and sustaining relationships with other children and adults is a part of the socio-emotional development of preschoolers.

The Importance of Socio-Emotional Development

The socio-emotional development of preschoolers is important because:

  • It helps them build relationships at an early age
  • This helps with their brain development
  • It helps them function well even if they are at home, at school, or anywhere else
  • Kids are empowered and grow in confidence in their own capability to address and solve problems on their own
  • It helps them become successful in school as well as forming and sustaining healthy relationships with others
  • They learn to trust, care, and give importance and value to those around them
  • Children learn to become responsible for the decisions they make
  • It pushes them to set and achieve goals that will immensely affect their development
  • This helps define how they will perform and give back to society.
  • Preschooler’s Socio-Emotional Development Milestones 

    Here are socio-emotional development milestones for children, ages 3 to 5:

    • Describes basic feelings (sadness, happiness, excitement, anger) through words.
    • Understands the idea of saying “sorry” and knows when to say it. Parents need to constantly give reminders since preschoolers are still adjusting to changes.
    • Knows the concept of generosity. Tends to share things in their own will so do not expect them to share often.
    • Acknowledging the feeling of guilt and embarrassment. Children at this age start to hide the truth when they feel they did something wrong.

    Lying (white lies) is a part of the process of every child’s development. White lie-telling in preschoolers often happens because they are still not aware that they’re lying. They also use it to test and see the reactions of adults or their peers.

    • Knows how to express their frustration and annoyance to their parents or their friends through words.
    • Becomes more aware of their actions and behaviors and how to manage them
    • Understands and follows the rules to avoid punishments.
    • Acknowledges and shows an understanding of other people’s feelings.

    socio-emotional development of preschoolers

    Nurturing Socio-Emotional Development of Preschoolers

    As parents, it is your duty to provide guidance to your children. Your guidance is a key factor in order for them to hone their socio-emotional skills. Here are some tips on how to nurture the socio-emotional development of preschoolers:

    Set a good example

    A child’s character will depend upon the parent’s behavior and the way they deal with emotions. Being a good role model is a way for parents to help their children adopt good habits and behavior.

    Show your emotions

    Do not be afraid to show emotions and vulnerability to children. This will help them feel welcome and safe to share their emotions as well. They will also become more aware that their actions will have emotional effects on their parents.

    Being responsive

    Responding to your child’s behavior and emotions has a great influence on their development. Preschoolers will learn a sense of concern, care, and understanding from their parents’ responsiveness.

    Be affectionate

    Showing love and affection towards children helps in building their confidence and self-esteem. This will also teach them how to be affectionate towards others. Being affectionate nurtures the socio-emotional development of preschoolers.

    Encourage your child to make  friends

    Let children experience the fun of childhood by letting them form relationships with other children. Making friends will help preschoolers learn several skills such as sharing, cooperating, and managing other kid’s feelings and behaviors.

    Avoid forcing preschoolers to make friends since different kids have different approaches when it comes to meeting new people.

    Play with your child

    Playing is not just for fun and enjoyment. It is also another way for parents to nurture the socio-emotional development of preschoolers. Play with your child as often as you can. For them to have the opportunity to learn the idea of winning and losing, negotiating, and sharing.

    Talk about your child’s emotions

    Engage in a conversation with your child about the emotions they feel. Doing this will leave a positive impression on your child. They will become aware that you are there to care and are willing to listen to their thoughts. This act will also inspire your preschooler to do the same with other people.

    Offer help when needed

    It is nice to let preschoolers explore and figure things out by themselves. Although they would still need help when they are under difficult circumstances.

    Parents don’t need to interrupt children’s playtime if they think that they’re having difficulties. Instead, it is best if parents would just wait for children to voluntarily ask for help.

    Key Takeaways

    Until they have all the necessary skills they need, preschoolers will continue to grow and develop. The skills they will acquire in their younger years will help them become healthier and more well-adjusted individuals in the future.

    The socio-emotional development of preschoolers is as important as any other developments such as mental and physical.

    Learn more about Parenting here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Nov 13, 2022

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