Top 3 signs I should be concerned about my young child’s social development: Sign #2
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
As an early childhood therapist, I’m seeing more and more parents and families concerned about their children’s social development. They want to know whether their child’s social development is normal. Is my child just a little behind socially because of COVID-19 or there is cause for alarm?
In my previous post (include link to previous post), I talked about Sign #1 that your preschool aged child’s social development may be of concern: Difficulty sustaining interactions with peers they are familiar with.
Being apprehensive and shy around new peers and adults is to be expected for many young children. Especially, given that they have been taught since they were babies to “keep 6 feet apart” or “give people their space”.
However, when heightened anxiety and nervousness still persist when they are around familiar faces is when I start to get concerned. In addition to difficulty sustaining interactions with familiar peers, there are 2 other warning signs I see frequently that indicate children may need professional support. Today, I will talk about the 2nd most common sign and what this sign might look like in different children.
Sign # 2 that your preschool aged child’s social development may be of concern:
Anxiety that is negatively impacting daily life activities or social interactions.
Growing up in COVID-19 times, many little ones are more apprehensive and nervous. They might have never experienced things such as loud movies, big festivals, aquarium field trips or might have had only a few of those experiences.
Therefore, it is normal to expect them to be more cautious and nervous around new experience or “scary” things.
However, I get concerned when I hear these anxieties are negatively impacting their social interactions and that the child and parents are avoiding certain social settings or leaving early because of these anxieties.
For instance, I recently interacted with the mother of a 4-year-old girl, who told me that her daughter got upset when other kids talked about things that she thinks are “scary” or “mean” such as “pirates”, “sharks”, or “ninjas” and every time any kid would talk about those things she would walk away. As a result, there were certain classmates she avoided all together and she would often ask to leave birthday parties early.
These are challenging times to raise a little one. The saying “It’s takes a village to raise a child” is so true. Let Think Happy Live Happy be part of your “village.” Next blog post we will share sign #3 that your children’s social development is of concern. If after reading through this post, you think that your child might need professional support, trust your parenting gut and reach out for help. We are starting a social skills group for children ages 3 to 5. More information can be found at https://www.thinkhappylivehealthy.com/groups.
About the Author:
Jennifer Yang, Ed.S. NCSP is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist with 12 years of experience in the mental health field. She worked with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) as a clinician in a Comprehensive Services Site (CSS) for special education students with severe social and emotional challenges as well as a Behaviorist in public schools in New Jersey. She also brings to her work her personal experiences of being a Mom to a neurodiverse child with ADHD. Jennifer is currently working under the supervision of Christine Willing, M.Ed., Licensed School Psychologist, to obtain her licensure in private practice as she is transitioning from working in schools to private practice.