Homeschooling and socialization may sound like two concepts that don’t belong together. However, homeschooling is a popular and more practical option for some parents when it comes time for preschool, which leads many parents to wonder: “How will my preschooler gain crucial social and emotional skills if they’re not in a traditional classroom?”
Social development and emotional development go hand in hand in the early years of a child’s life and are crucial parts of their formation as future learners. But, just because a child isn’t in a preschool classroom out of the home, doesn’t mean they can’t take part in the same social emotional learning that is so important to their development. Parents can engage their homeschooled preschoolers in all kinds of ways that boost their exposure to social and emotional skills. From field trips to volunteering opportunities, providing your preschooler chances to socialize with other children and develop their emotions is a great way to bring social emotional learning into your home.
The Homegrown Preschooler is a wonderful resource for parents considering homeschooling their preschoolers, and parents that already do. Here are some fun ideas and activities you can try with your homeschooled preschooler to boost their socialization today!
Surprise Someone: Help your preschooler think of a way to surprise a friend, neighbor, or family member. This can be as simple as taking the neighbor’s paper to her door, offering to help a sibling with chores, or making a picture for a friend.
Volunteer: Try to involve your preschooler as much as possible in volunteering in your community. For example, if you volunteer at an animal shelter, ask if you can bring your preschooler along to play with the kittens. If you help put together food donations at your church or community center, see if your child can help put the food in bags.
Emotion Cards: Help your preschooler identify his feelings by making emotion cards. Cut large pictures out of magazines that demonstrate a variety of emotions, and glue them onto card stock. Cover these cards with clear contact paper, and tape them to paint stir-sticks to make emotion puppets.
I’m So Mad!: Help your child learn that everyone gets angry or frustrated and that there are appropriate ways to express anger. Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi and Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney are great books to read with your child that address the subject of anger. When your child is angry or frustrated, provide a quiet place where she can go and be alone. Sometimes giving her an old magazine to rip up helps get the anger out.