What’s good to know?
The way that mothers talk to their children when they are young has a lasting effect on children’s social skills, according to a research study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The researchers found that children whose mothers often talked to them about people’s feelings, beliefs, wants, and intentions, developed better social understanding than children whose mothers did not include much ‘mental state talk’ in their conversations…..
How do I do it?
The researchers also observed how each of the mothers talked to their child when they were 3 years old as they looked at a series of pictures together. They found that children whose mothers had often described the mental state of people in the pictures – their emotions or what they might be thinking or going to do next – did particularly well on the social understanding tasks.
Find out how they followed children from the age of 3 to the age of 12 using Ricky Gervais’s character, David Brent from The Office measuring their ability to perform tasks designed to measure their social understanding.
Source: Mum’s the word: the secret to building children’s social skills
What I can do right now?
- When you read your next story point out the expression on one of the characters face.
- Let your voice show the emotion of a character or situation
- Ask them about facial expressions of the characters.
Books we tried this with today
Good Night Gorilla
The zookeeper says goodnight to all his zoo animals but one sneaky animal manages to open all the cages and one by one they all sneak behind the poor tired zookeeper all the way to his home…. across the road. He climbs into bed and finally says goodnight to his wife while putting out the light.
All the animals say Goodnight.
All that’s on the next page is black( night) and two eyes( the zookeepers wife). She’s clearly surprised, shocked etc and does something…… Her expression is a good one to talk about. Is she mad? Has this happened before?
The Great Goat Chase
Some goats get loose in the turnip field. The Farmer tries unsuccessfully to get them out of the field even with help from other farm animals. One very small ‘animal’ offers to help and all the other animals that tried and the farmer are sure this little one can’t do it.
This was a good book to look at feelings. Seeing the animals laughing and tears rolling down the face. “Why are they crying? Are they hurt?”
Snail goes on an amazing journey thanks to new friend whale. Whale helps snail. Snail helps whale.
I pointed out more emotions than I was able to elicit. We did talk about what it would be like to be riding in a storm. He held on tight and I moved him about and tipped him up and down. He said ‘scary’