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Social-Emotional Development at Home – Q&A with Liz Twombly

We posed this question to Liz Twombly, author of the ASQ® Learning Activities, a series of fun, practical activities that parents can do with their children at home to support their growth and learning.

Q: What are some ways parents can support their children’s social-emotional development at home?

A: The health crisis around the world has been at best, mildly stressful for families, and at worst traumatic. Sometimes we may think that babies and young children are “too young to understand” or “too young to remember” stressful or traumatic events. However, research shows that babies and young children do get stressed. Young children feel stress in their bodies and show stress through behaviors, including changes in sleeping and eating behaviors. The good news is that there are ways adults can protect children from harmful impacts of stress.

Touch is powerful. Touch helps children (and adults) calm, de-stress, and feel safe. As much as possible, snuggle up, read to, talk, and play with your young child.

Comfort children when they are upset. Research has shown that picking up babies every time they cry actually decreases crying over time. Young children also need comfort when upset. Once calm, children are able to listen and talk about a situation.

Limit talk about fears and worries. Keep young children away from situations or images that are violent or scary, including shows or games on devices.

Talk to children—even babies—about feelings. Encourage early talkers to use feeling words such as happy, sad, mad, or scared. Reassure children that you and other adult “helpers” around the world will keep them safe.

Finally, try to stay on a routine. Prepare children for big and little changes in their lives. Change is stressful, but knowing what to expect will help decrease fears and worries.

Interested in Learning More?

ASQ:SE-2 learning activites

ASQ®:SE-2 Learning Activities & More
Enhance the social-emotional development of infants and young children with more than 90 fun, developmentally appropriate learning activities, specially developed to complement ASQ:SE-2.

Perfect for sharing with families of children who are developing typically or need nonintensive support with their social-emotional skills, these creative activities are an effective, low-cost way for parents and children to learn and have fun together.

Available in English and Spanish.