Protective Factor 5

Foster Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Parenting can be especially difficult when children act out or exhibit challenging behaviors. When children can communicate their feelings appropriately and interact positively with their families and with other adults and children, parenting becomes less stressful.

Teaching social and emotional skills is the foundation of quality early childhood education. Early childhood staff can also work with parents to understand children’s feelings and actions. They can offer strategies and make plans with parents to address challenging behaviors. Providers who understand what is normal and what is not for children in this age group can be helpful in detecting signs of trouble that parents are not trained to see, such as indications of special needs, developmental disabilities, trauma, or sexual abuse. They can work with parents to intervene effectively and get specialized help.