Seizing the Teachable Moment to Help Kids Develop Social Skills

Healthy emotional development is critical in the first five years of a child’s life. Everyday social interaction with parents, caregivers, and others provides the foundation for all areas of a child’s brain development. It’s also the gateway for encouraging children to develop the self-control, focus and confidence they’ll need to be successful in school and beyond.

At the YMCA Child Development Centers at Walt Disney World Resort, we pride ourselves in providing consistent, nurturing care that helps your child feel safe, secure, and able to learn new skills at every age.

Take toddlers, for instance. As they learn to interact with others, it’s not uncommon for them to behave badly toward adults or other children. While it’s perfectly normal behavior, it’s also a teachable moment when Y staff help children learn how to manage their emotions, impulses, and actions.

In keeping with the Y’s approach in the classroom, offers additional suggestions you might find helpful at home:

  • As much as possible, provide consistent care and predictable routines. This helps kids experience the world as a safe, secure place where needs are met, surprises are few and distress is fleeting.
  • Help children learn the right language to express their feelings. Being able to identify emotions is the first step in controlling them. Use storybooks, everyday experiences, and dinner time conversation to help your child understand their feelings, the feelings of others, and develop stronger language skills.
  • Provide simple choices. Nurture your child’s judgment and decision-making skills by encouraging them to make age-appropriate choices on what to wear, what to eat, etc. They’ll feel more confident, self-aware, and in control.
  • Don’t forget interactive play. Simple games can teach kids about fairness, following rules, and taking turns - not to mention coping with the occasional disappointment of losing.

If you have questions about your child’s behavior or need additional advice, feel free to check with the Y’s child development experts. We’re here to support you, your child and family in every way we can.