6 Key Areas Parents Should Look Out For In Their Kid's Development
While our parents focused on book smarts and good grades, modern parents now see the value of soft skills and high EQ
Of course, academics are still important, but there's more to life than good grades. Today's kids, aged one to ten, belong to what is known as 'generation Alpha'. This group is born into a fast-paced digital world, and their overall development beyond just book smarts is more important than ever.
1. Social skills: Gaining the knowledge and skills needed to successfully interact with others
This may sound like it's too much for kids to process, but we actually can set the foundations for good social skills from a young age. It's all about making it age appropriate.
Here are some examples:
- Teach your kids to share or take turns in games at school.
- Encourage them to talk to people you trust who are not family members, such as their peers and teachers.
- Organise a playgroup or sign them up for fun extracurricular classes to give them a chance to socialise with other children.
Social skills can lead to better networking skills in the future, which in turn opens more doors. Whether in a career or in their personal lives, every individual needs to know how to properly interact with others.
2. Emotional regulation: Feelings and emotional responses to events
Get your kids to pay attention to their emotions so that they'll learn how to identify, understand, and express them. Most importantly, make sure to let your kids express how they're feeling and validate their emotions.
If you keep telling your kid to not cry, not complain, not get angry, not be sad, and so on, then they grow up bottling their feelings and not knowing how to regulate their emotions. So, teach them safe avenues to express themselves.
Here are some tips:
- Identify and validate emotions. If they're crying or upset, ask them why.
- Discuss the problem. Is it small, medium, or big? Is their emotional response appropriate for the problem?
- Find solutions together.
- Always listen earnestly to anything they want to tell you. It may seem like something small to you, but to them, it's huge. If you listen attentively and respond respectfully when they talk to you about the small stuff now, they'll be more likely to talk to you about the big stuff when they're older.
Also, encourage them to have empathy for others. Not only will this help with their overall emotional growth, it will also help them be a good leader in the future. They will be able to understand others and how to manage them, instead of leading with fear.
3. Self-esteem: The idea of feeling good about ourselves
Kids with high self-esteem feel good about themselves and have the confidence to try new things. They will be more likely to try their best as well as feel proud of what they can do.
And even if they fail at something, having high self-esteem will help them cope with mistakes and try again. That's why self-esteem is so important—it helps kids do better in many different areas, be it at school, at home, with friends, or for their future careers.
So, how can you as a parent help them have high self-esteem?
Here are some tips:
- Help your child learn to do things themselves. When teaching them, show and help them at first, then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes.
- Praise your child, but don't overpraise. Don't just praise them for results or fixed qualities, but also for effort, progress, and attitude.
- Be a good role model. Your kids are likely to follow what they see you do, be it actions or attitude.
- Don't criticise them too harshly. Hearing negative messages about themselves can harm their self-esteem. Correct them with patience instead and focus on what they should do next time.
- Let kids help others. Whether it's helping out at home or doing something nice for a sibling, helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.
4. Cognitive development: The ability to reason, problem-solve, and organize ideas
A child's ability to learn and solve problems is invaluable, both at their current age and for their future success. Depending on your child's age, you can do different things to help their cognitive development.
Age-appropriate games are a great tool for this, especially since there are loads of apps for this now.
Here are some suggestions:
- Zapzapmath: Enter a universe of over 180 games that cover 180 maths subtopics. Players travel to different planets and complete a variety of challenges that lead them to master mathematical concepts, all while having fun!
- Musical Me! : Children will join Mozzarella the Mouse in a musical world and learn the fundamental components of music. They’ll work on their memory by listening to the notes and copying the pattern to train their ears to hear different pitches. Kids will also learn about rhythm, short and long notes, how to read music notes, and even how to create their own music.
- Epic! : The #1 children’s digital library. It has thousands of children’s books and videos, including kids’ audiobooks, ebooks, read-along books, learning videos, reading quizzes, and more.
5. Moral development: The growing understanding of right and wrong, and the change in behavior caused by that understanding
Moral development is an important part of a child's social development. Things that can affect their developing sense of right vs. wrong include experiences at home, the environment around them, as well as their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills.
Many children start to show morally-based behaviours and beliefs, such as being afraid to get in trouble or feeling happy when they do something nice, between the ages of two and five.
You can't expect such young children to automatically do the right thing, but most can at least understand the difference between good and bad behaviour. This will then act as a foundation for more complicated moral thinking in the future.
For moral development, a parent's role is crucial as kids learn about morality by observing the behaviour of adults and other children.
Here are some things you can do:
- Make sure you're setting a good example for your kids.
- Reinforce their own good behaviour.
- Treat your kids the way you would want them to treat others.
6. Prosocial behavior: An act that helps or benefits others but may have some penalty to the person doing it
This is a more advanced stage of a child's moral development. It basically involves a child being capable of putting others before themselves. For example, giving their pocket money to a charitable cause instead of buying a snack or toy for themselves.
Prosocial behavior has been related to other positive outcomes, such as improved grades, better social acceptance, higher approval among classmates, and being liked by teachers.
Here's how you can get your child to internalise prosocial values:
- Encourage them to see things from the perspective of others.
- Evoke empathic responses to the distress of others.
- Allow them to have collaborative interactions with their peers.
Parents love their kids, and always want the best for them in all aspects
In a recent survey conducted by Anmum Essential amongst more than 300 Malaysian mothers with children aged one to six, 9 out of 10 mums said that besides their children’s learning ability, there are many areas of growth and development that they need to support.
This shows that Malaysian parents don’t just want children who are able to learn well, they also see the importance of supporting their children’s overall development.
Experts in child development also agree that Malaysian parents should not over-prioritise learning over other developments
Dr. Rajini Sarvananthan, Consultant General and Developmental Paediatrician says parents need to understand that children’s social and emotional development influences all other areas of development.
Echoing this, Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Cardiologist of Pakar Kanak-Kanak Junina agrees that a child’s overall development cannot take a backseat as parents focus on brain growth and learning development.
Watch the video below for more expert advice:
That’s why the new Anmum ESSENTIAL GOLD is scientifically formulated with key nutrients to support eight important developments of children aged one to six
It has 33% more DHA*, MFGM+ Gangliosides (GA), prebiotics, and 15 key nutrients. Along with these benefits, Anmum Essential Gold also contains nutrients including Vitamin A to support eye function.
Good nutrition and stimulation are important to support the eight important areas of a child’s development.
This includes physical growth, good gut environment to absorb the nutrients needed to support physical growth, good body resistance to help the child stay protected, cognitive development, eye development which supports the ability to focus and learn, and social and emotional development.
*Compared to current Anmum Essential in a single serve.
Your child’s overall development starts with good nutrition. The new Anmum Essential Gold is suitable for children aged one to six.