How can we develop social intelligence for toddlers?

How can we develop social intelligence for toddlers?

Toddlers often fear or be shy when having to talk to a stranger even though they may be happy and enjoy talking to them all the times. Sometimes they start to yell on the floor, at a family get together driving everyone crazy, not knowing how to behave socially.

It is believed that toddlers could develop social intelligence too and it need to learn 3 things- Manage their emotions, learning to develop empathy for others and know to express their needs in an appropriate manner. Some children are naturally more socially adept than others. However, it is something that could be learnt more and more with every passing day.

1. Show and enact feelings: Let your toddler learn a variety of feelings—bliss, anger, frustration, excitement, mischief, weirdness, nervousness, tiredness, fear, danger and so forth. Play ‘distinguish the feelings’ game by making faces or holding bulletins of various smiley. This helps them distinguish between feelings and express better; and not get confused when getting along with different children or individuals.

To teach them feelings, it is significant that you additionally convey to your children what makes you happy and what makes you sad, so when they get into mischief, you can make a straight face and disclose to them directly that you are disturbed.

toddler Playing

2.Observe and guide during play time: Many children hit during play time, since they get overpowered and they simply don’t have an idea about what to do. In case you’re there, you can say, “Indeed, Ryan took your car…is that alright with you? No? You can say ‘My car!'” If your child knows you’re there for solving an issue, hitting won’t become a necessity.

3.Empathize:  Children who get a lot of sympathy for their very own sentiments from their parents in their lives, are usually the ones to create compassion for other people, and research has demonstrated that compassion for others is the foundation of effective relation connections or a strong bond.   So always show care and concern for your toddler’s emotions and doing so will also give them an idea of how to respond when someone else is in a similar situation.

4.Try not to force little children to share: It really delays the habit of sharing when you force your children to share. The children understand that they can get anything, if a person cry. In order to make the child understand to have a sense of safety in their ownership before they can share, you need to present the idea of alternate turns.

toddler sharing

5.Praising may not always work: Although when you praise your child for sharing their toys with others, they might to do it quite often, but  they may be times he would not like to share, unless you are watching them. It may be because they do not get your attention at that point of time.

So next time also let your child know the greatness of sharing when you say, “Look how happy Sara is to get to play with your Teddy.”  Let them know how the other kid is glad and happy and never force your kid to give, until they are done using, or else they may not be able to see the good side.

6.Help them notice how other people feel: Let your toddler know if his friend is upset because your child simply refused to play or snatched his toy. You could also let your kid come up with solutions to empathize in such situations and how to deal with it, for instance, “Clay wants to play with the ball and Sara wants to play hide and seek, so you could choose to play both one after other and in this way,  no one will be sad.” or “Jensen hurt himself on the ground. Could we do anything to help him feel better?”

7.Give them the environment: Children who spend time themselves or being home, lack the opportunity to interact with others. Give your child a chance to enter a new environment, mingle with other children and get to talk to other people.

Also, involve them in activities where they get to connect with others making it easier like playgrounds, kindergarten, playschools etc. Children who get to talk to elderly people develop strong interpersonal qualities and it adds up to their personality later.

Teaching your kid to communicate and develop social intelligence may seem a big task.  But, it is not as big as you think. you will need a lot of patience and have to stay calm. It has to be within the environment the child is, then it becomes easy.  Remember that they are just children and are left with a lot of learning or do not expect much or react inappropriately to correct them. Happy Parenting.

Summary: The key to develop social intelligence among toddlers are:

1. Show and enact feelings to your child.
2. Observe and guide during playtime.
3. Empathize.
4. Try not to force little children to share.
5. Help them notice how other people feel.
6. Create an environment where your children connect with others.
7. Do not always praise.

How can we develop social intelligence for toddlers

Show them feelings

Remain close during playgroups


Try not to force little children to share

Praising may not always work

Help them notice how other people feel

Give them the environment



Malathi A Ganesh is a B. Com Graduate, NTT, M.A (Lit), PGDEA (PG in Education Administration), PGDCA (PG Diploma in Computer Application), DTE (Diploma in Teaching English), ICEPT (International Certificate in Education Preschool Teaching) from Singapore and B. Ed. She has been in the field of education for the past 20 years and has an experience of running her own pre-school She is the Founder & Director Academics of Smartkidz Educare India Pvt Ltd with 275+ play schools Pan India. She is an Educationist and a Child Psychologists by profession who wants to fulfill her dream of giving Quality Education to children in their earlier years. She is also into conducting positive parenting workshops, which talks about effective child rearing. She has conducted numerous parenting workshops in all her pre schools, schools and MNC’s.

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