Childhood is a time vital to the development of any person. Many behaviors observed in childhood become predictors of tendencies in later life. According to a study by Alva Tang spanning three decades, personality dispositions stay continuous from infanthood to adulthood across most people. Teaching pro-social skills in early childhood can improve children’s chances of fitting in, engaging in society, and being good citizens in later life. But what exactly are pro-social skills?
Pro-Social Skills: Definition & Importance
Pro-social skills consist of believing that others, their feelings, and experiences are important. And a willingness to help others to enhance their experience. These skills influence children’s motivation, performance, social connection, aptitude, and group participation. Some examples of this behavior include being sensitive to someone’s needs, helping them with their struggles, or consoling their emotions.
According to a study published in The Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development, pro-social behavior demonstrates social competence in early childhood. Such behaviors also improve the chances of social acceptance and being liked by peers and teachers in educational institutions.
People with this skill have better relationships, emotional intelligence, and social harmony. In contemporary times, soft skills like leadership and emotional intelligence are valuable not only in personal life but also in the professional sphere. Navigating complex interpersonal relationships and producing win-win results become easier with pro-sociality as a core value or motivator.
A registered report of a randomized(random sample of the population is taken) trial by Miles. A. and others showed that pro-social acts reduce anxiety and increase the belief that one’s life is valuable. Hence, these helpful habits can aid in crisis management and guide behavior that works best for everyone.
Hence, parents, educators, and personnel working with children should promote and teach pro-social skills to children for better development throughout their lifespan.
Read more: Bullying Prevention Month: Creating An Inclusive Environment.
How To Practice Teaching Pro-Social Skills In Childhood?
Acting pro-socially toward and around children can give them a role model to perform the same way. Other ways to advocate role models are through stories(via books, digital, or spoken) emphasizing values like collaboration, compassion, etc.
Promoting such skills in the whole peer group can also motivate children to engage in small acts of kindness. These actions can accumulate to develop a greater sense of understanding, compromise, and connection among children. Other skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership, can be instilled through group activities.
Read more: Celebrate world kindness day by being kind whenever possible
Teaching pro-social skills in childhood can help raise competent individuals who can give back to society while taking appropriate care of themselves. Being pro-social can help people believe their life(and others’) is valuable and reduce anxiety in times of crisis or difficulty. It can also help people navigate relationships and extract desired results that benefit themselves and others. Hence, teachers, parents, and other personnel who work with children need to teach and spread these skills to foster better, more connected communities.
However, low self-esteem and other mental health issues can hinder children’s development of such skills. Here is a blog explaining how to navigate and cope with low self-esteem in adolescence. For more information on development, communities, mental health issues, or premium products catered to your needs, subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal.