Specialist Play Service Social and Emotional Play

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal development (being me) how we come to understand who we are and what we can do. How we look after ourselves. Social development (being social) how we come to understand ourselves in relation to others. How we make friends, understand the rules of society and behave towards others. Emotional development (Having feelings) how we come to understand our feelings to support our regulation.

Shared interaction/social play

Play bouncing games, sing songs and rhymes that encourage participation and turn-taking through clapping, body actions and playing peek-a-boo games. Encourage eye-tracking skills with colourful scarves and ribbons. Once shared interaction and social play are developing consistently in line with communication a child will then begin to build on sharing play and ideas with others such as cooperating, being flexible, taking turns, and solving problems.

Taking turns

It is important for children to learn how to take turns with others here are some examples.

  • Roll a ball back to adult or another child
  • Taking turns to blow bubbles
  • Early board games
  • Matching & lotto games

Promoting social and emotional development for your child

  • Love your child and show your affection for them. Hug, cuddle, read, and talk
  • with them throughout the day
  • Encourage your child to try new things
  • Give your child opportunities to play with other children their age
  • Show your feelings and label them
  • Establish daily routines
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings

Ideas for social play activities

  • Turn-taking games for babies/toddlers
  • Music-making and rhythm games for babies/young children
  • Using puppets/props to support emotional play for young children
  • Water and sand playdough
  • Emotion cards with playdough
  • Mirror play (develop self-awareness, speech, develop muscles & movement)
  • Peeka boo games with mirrors/scarfs/ribbons/hiding behind furniture

Social-emotional ideas

What you can do to help your child’s social-emotional development

  • Be a model of the emotions and behaviors you want your child to show. You are your child’s first teacher and they look up to you as a role model.
  • Be responsive to your child’s emotions and behaviors. Responding will help to develop trust between you and your child.
  • Use stories to talk to your child about different social situations and how each person might be feeling.
  • To support your child’s problem solving skills and give time to offer solutions
  • Calm area, Eg: tent/quite corner/space
  • Encourage your child to try new things and learn how much they can do.
  • Play games to teach your child how to take turns, win and lose, share, and negotiate
  • If your child appears upset/frustrated offer alternatives such as brushing your
    teeth or bath first. For example, use visuals or objects to support this
    transition (depending on your child’s level of understanding).

Useful links