We have heard the term prosocial many times but what does it mean? Prosocial behaviors are voluntary acts intended to benefit others. Prosocial acts emerge early in life, soon after babies learn to crawl and increase in complexity across the lifespan.
What are prosocial behaviors?
- accepting and respecting others’ feelings
- verbally and physically comforting others
- expressing strong emotions in acceptable ways
- cooperating with and helping others
- sharing toys, materials, and affection
- showing concern; care how actions affect others
February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. What better time to promote pro-social skills with young children! Lead by example and perform random acts of kindness for those you work with and then support children as they model this behavior.
Some ways teachers can help children individually develop their social/ emotional skills include:
- Consistently offering warmth, affection, respect, and caring.
- Listen with full attention and restate what children say.
- Accept and reflect on children’s feelings.
- Spend private, quality time with individual children through one-on-one activities, such as story reading and game playing.
- Be intentional about planning spaces with the knowledge that children, from infancy through school age, benefit from spaces for social play.
- Make sure social spaces, like dramatic play and block areas, are protected from traffic.
- Teachers can encourage even the youngest of children to interact together by turning on music and dancing or reading a story.
Interested in learning more ways to support children’s social and emotional development? ChildCareEd offers many training courses designed to provide strategies to caregivers as they promote pro-social behaviors in young children. Below are just a few of the trainings we offer: