Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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5 Tips for Building Preschoolers' Emotional Skills + CCEI Courses for CDA Training

Don't we all want to learn more ways to help our preschoolers strengthen their emotional skills? I just finished my most recent course with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), and I am super excited to share some things I learned about building preschoolers' emotional skills from it with you! 

SOC107: Building Social and Emotional Competence is designed for adults working with preschoolers about 2-5 years old. It helps you identify characteristics of social emotional development in children five and under, learn how to create a responsive learning environment, and select strategies that help children build self-regulation and healthy social emotional development.

Plus, this is one of the many online courses that is part of their CDA certification.

The course is designed for professionals working with young children, but I think every parent would also benefit from the information inside.

We all want our preschoolers to develop strong emotional skills so they can solve problems and deal with frustrations as they grow. 

I'm going to share 5 effective, actionable tips that I found within this course that will let you (as an adult) help your preschoolers (whether they're your children or children you care for) build this kind of emotional strength.

First, I'm going to share a little bit more about CCEI.

I first discovered ChildCare Education Institute a few years ago, and have been absolutely impressed with every course I've taken with them.

I'm not the only person who loves them. More than 47,700 early childhood professionals have graduated from their CDA or other certificate programs, and 99% of their students say they would recommend CCEI to others!

ChildCare Education Institute provides high-quality, online training courses and programs, perfect for teachers in child-care settings, center-based care, Head Start, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, after school environments, and more. I LOVE how their courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in a convenient web-based system that you can access from any device. 

They have online certification programs for national credentials like the CDA, Director, and Early Childhood Credentials.

And, if you're like me, you like to know that CCEI is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and is an IACET Accredited Provider. You can get IACET CEUs through CCEI that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard.

With credentials like that, you can bet the tips I'm sharing from their courses are actionable and research-based. So, here are...

5 Tips for Building Preschoolers' Emotional Skills

#1: Build a relationship with your children!

SOC107 points out the fact that most discipline-related problems can be avoided by building or strengthening your relationship with your children. It includes lots of recommendations on how to build those relationships with young children, and why each one works. I am only going to share three here.
     ==> Listen to your children, and take the time to have conversations with them.
     ==> Connect individually with each child. If you work in a classroom, this might look like a brief conversation as they arrive or other short conversations throughout the day. If you're at home, this might look like a scheduled 1-on-1 activity with each child or a simple conversation where they get all of your undivided attention.
     ==> Watch for unspoken needs, and ask your children about them.

From my own personal experiences (both as a teacher and a parent), I can tell you that behavior and discipline problems almost disappear when you focus on relationships, so I really appreciated this emphasis in the course. 

#2: Acknowledge Emotions!

When our preschoolers are struggling with emotions, help them identify those emotions. Do not ignore them. Just waiting for an emotion to pass does not give your children any new coping skills. 

Ask them questions like:
* "How did that make you feel?" 
* "Do you feel sad when ____?" 
* "Are you excited about ____?"

Sometimes you can't drop everything at the moment and run to an upset child. I love using this suggestion from the course: "I hear you crying because you want my attention. I will be right over." This acknowledges their frustration, and lets them know that you will be there to support them - even if it's not right that second.

Don't try to ignore emotions or tell your preschoolers that "nothing is wrong" or that they don't need to worry when they feel like something is wrong or that they do need to worry. Identify those feelings so they can find ways to deal with them!
#3: Monitor Areas of Concern or Potential Problems!

When you have a relationship with children, you can often predict when they might need your help to solve problems. It's easier to solve those problems or avoid concerning situations if you provide them with the skills to work through them.

#4: Celebrate Small Successes!

Preschoolers like to feel a sense of accomplishment, so if you can point out successes (even if they seem small), it will help them gain more confidence. 

It's important to remember that social and emotional skills can take years to develop. Don't let what might feel like slow progress upset you. Celebrate the small gains!

#5: Use Teachable Moments!

Behavioral skills, asking questions, responding appropriately, and emotional responses all take a lot of practice. We might schedule time to teach these skills, but throughout the day there will be lots of "teachable moments" where we can pause what we are normally doing and reinforce those skills. It only takes an extra minute or so, but repeatedly reviewing those skills as they apply to normal, every day interactions is how our preschoolers will learn to use them throughout their normal days.

I hope you have a chance to use these tips with your preschoolers! I would love to hear your favorite tips or tricks for helping preschoolers build their emotional skills too--feel free to message me on FB, email, or leave a comment!

SOC 107: Building Social and Emotional Competence is a 2-hour course that's part of CCEI's CDA certification program, and I highly recommend it. In addition to the tips I shared above, it covers building social competence, building relationships, Erikson's theory of Psychosocial Development, preschool learning outcomes, modeling, bonding, attachment, self-regulation, temperament, and more. 

This article is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. All opinions are mine--you know I only recommend products and companies I love!

Happy Educating,

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Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

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