The first five years of a child’s life are critical for developing their social-emotion skills. Social-emotional development includes experiences, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others (Cohen and others 2005). These skills are vital for when a child enters elementary school and eventually, the workplace.

At CFNC, we encourage positive social-emotional development in the classroom as well as outside the classroom during interactions and sessions with our Family Service Workers (FSW). Here are some of the strategies our FSWs use that you can use at home to encourage positive development:

Reward positive behavior: by rewarding positive behavior instead of focusing on negative behavior, you are increasing the liklihood that a student will repeat the desired behavior. This is a great approach because it is strength-based and highlights what the child does well.

Providing a limited number of choices: this helps children learn to operate within normal social boundaries. This strategy encourages independence and decision making while also allowing the child to recognize and respect limits.

Peer-modeling: this is when a child demonstrates positive behavior to others. This is effective when you’re encouraging age-appropriate responses to new concepts and want to highlight positive social interactions or emotional responses.


Preschool is a very exciting time for children and families. You’ll be noticing a lot of changes in your child as the year progresses. By supporting your child’s social-emotional development, you’re also supporting your child’s education and setting them up for success in school and in life.