Feelings and Connections Matter – Supporting Social Emotional Development

(Video uploaded 06/2021)


Title: Feelings and Connections Matter – Supporting Social Emotional Development

Heading: Feelings and Connections Matter: Supporting Social Emotional Development

Narrator: Feelings and Connections Matter: Supporting Children's Social Emotional Development.

Super: Social Emotional Development

Narrator: Taking care of your children's physical needs is vitally important, but so too is nurturing their social and emotional development. Addressing children's emotions from a young age supports their long-term development in different areas including their emotion-regulation and interpersonal skills.

Subheading: Newborns

Narrator: Newborns.

Newborns can't speak but they can express different emotions through sounds and movements. This one-month-old baby has been fed and changed but is still crying. The parents have no idea what to do. The mother's aunt reminds them that crying is simply the way a baby expresses his needs. Perhaps he is uncomfortable or wants company. She encourages the mother to pick the baby up, cuddle and comfort him. So the mother gently picks him up and says,

Mother: Oh! Mummy's here, shh…

Narrator: Soon after, the baby settles down. The aunt also tells the mother,

Aunt: He can now recognise his mum's voice. So cuddle him more and keep him company to help him feel more secure. It seems like crying is all he knows now, but he will show more emotions in one or two months.

Narrator: The baby gradually stops crying after being held and hearing his mum's gentle voice.

Subheading: Separation Anxiety

Narrator: Separation Anxiety.

This mother is taking her nine-month-old son to the playroom and runs into a friend she hasn't seen for a long time. Her friend attempts to pick up the baby, and the baby starts crying. The mother soothes her baby first. Then, after playing together for a while, the mother brings the baby closer to her friend. The baby begins to accept him and laughs while playing with him.

Super: Separation Anxiety

Narrator: Babies start showing separation anxiety from around 8 months old. When a baby is separated from the caregiver, around new people or in a new environment, the baby may become anxious and start crying. By accepting these natural developmental responses, parents can help their baby to develop a sense of security and adjust to separation gradually.

Subheading: Terrible Twos

Narrator: Terrible Twos.

When a child turns two, his emotions become more complex. With his development in self-concept, he begins to have more of his own sense of ideas and may be less willing to cooperate. Does the following situation look familiar to you?

This father is getting his daughter dressed to play in the park. His daughter starts being difficult and repeatedly refuses to put her trousers on.

Daughter: No!

Narrator: So the father patiently calms his daughter before gently encouraging her to cooperate.

Two-year-olds are easily frustrated and they can be tough to handle. However, by looking at things from their perspectives and providing guidance patiently, parents can help them regulate their emotions.

Subheading: Preschoolers

Narrator: Preschoolers.

Entering preschool years, your child needs to learn how to get along with his peers. You can give him more chances to play with his friends and guide him into taking care of others' needs and feelings.

A group of children are playing happily in the park. A child's grandmother and father are watching the group playing when the grandmother says,

Grandmother: Your son just plays all the time. Why don't you sign him up for some classes?

Narrator: The father disagrees and explains,

Father: Play is important to children. They can have fun while learning how to get along with others.

Narrator: As they talk, the boy starts arguing with another child over a spring rider.

Son: Me first! Wahhhh...

Child: No! I'm playing!

Narrator: So the father walks over and soothes his son, and encourages them to take turns.

Preschoolers begin to distinguish their own feelings and those of the others. They also like to play with their friends. But they still need parental guidance on developing interpersonal skills.

Children express different emotions right from birth. By responding to their developmental needs and providing appropriate guidance, parents can lay a solid foundation for their social, emotional and overall development. It's not rocket science!

For more information on children's social and emotional development and how to respond to children's emotions, please watch the videos on "Tips on Emotion Coaching" and "5 Steps of Emotion Coaching". You may also visit the website of the Family Health Service - Department of Health at www.fhs.gov.hk and refer to the corresponding pamphlets.

This video is produced by the Family Health Service of the Department of Health.

Produced in March 2021