Following my daughter’s emotional development has been quite an experience.
The other day, my daughter told me something that made me realize how she has grown and how she is coming to terms with her growing self. In one of our playful sessions she told me, “Momma, you make me happy!”
Though it was just one sentence, it meant a lot to me. From the time I first held her when the only way she could express herself was through crying to actually being able to communicate in words about how she feels, she has indeed come a long way. It made me think how day by day she is not only growing physically but also emotionally.
An emotion is an experience that deals with our surroundings and makes us feel a certain way. Emotions are closely tied with how children interact with their parents, teachers, friends and others close to them. I decided to read up a bit more on emotional growth in children and it was truly time well spent. I got to know a lot!
Let me take you through some interesting information on emotional growth as well as emotional milestones that I came across. Though all children grow differently, there are certain things you can expect at every age.
Following your child’s emotional development:
- During the first few months, you might have realized that children start noticing faces around them and interacting with facial expressions. I still remember one of the first few times I saw my baby smiling. It was also surprising how quickly she could start crying when she was hungry. That was the only way she could communicate her needs.
- By the end of the first year, children are able to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar faces and play simple interactive games with those around them. Over a period of time, being able to walk and talk allows children to explore more of their surroundings, express their needs and socialize.
- By the end of the second year, you’ll notice how well kids can observe what happens around them. I was stunned at how well my daughter could mimic me and my husband by copying random bits and pieces we said in her presence. This is also the time when you’ll start seeing more temper tantrums. There’s a reason why the term ‘terrible twos’ exists.
Rapid emotional growth during this period is because of the fact that children experience fastest brain growth till the age of 5. Thus, it’s important that you supplement brain growth with the right nutrients. Among all nutrients, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a omega-3 fatty acid, is possibly the most important. It is the building block of the brain and DHA levels have been linked to problem solving, verbal skills and general intelligence. These are all essential to interaction with the world around and subsequently emotional growth.
As the recommended levels of DHA might not be absorbed from my daughter’s regular diet, I have started giving her Enfagrow A+ with a glass of milk every day. This fortified food provides the right mix of essential nutrients to ensure her optimal physical and mental development. You can also begin ensuring the right nutrition by getting Enfagrow A+ for your child.
- Between the ages of three and four, children are able to express more emotions. They are able to connect and play with peers easily.
- After age 5, children are more aware of gender differences and continue to come to terms with how they are expected to behave in social situations. From simple emotions such as anger and joy, children start experiencing the full range of complex emotions including embarrassment and anger that we as adults are acquainted with.
- By the age of 10, children are aware of what others think of them, they find their place in peer groups and are able to understand and express complex ideas.
Though most emotional development takes place during the early years, it continues through adulthood and beyond. Thus, it’s a lasting process and parents play an important role in it.
As emotional growth matters for the success of my child, I am becoming more aware of how I am in a position to shape it every day. I am also in the process of refining my approach for the same. By reading more and observing everyday interactions with your child, you can do the same.