5 Ways to Resocialize Your Kids This Summer


Every parent wants their child to have a strong foundation early in life. Whether it’s through their child’s ability to excel in academic environments, meet milestones or even make friends, parents are constantly on the lookout to help their little one succeed. 

But what does a parent do when a global pandemic shifts their ability to control how their child develops outside of the home? They do what most parents did last year,  provide as much emotional and academic support in the home as possible, and hope for the best

But now that more businesses are re-opening, parents have found themselves facing new questions; how much did the pandemic really impact my child, and how do I resocialize my kids so they feel comfortable in the world again? 

We feel your pain moms and dads, so we set out to find answers to both of these questions.

To our surprise, researchers said the pandemic might not have impacted your littles as much as you think. A recent New York Times article revealed, “The majority of neurotypical kids will be able to socialize just fine… A lot of socialization happens implicitly through interactions with caregivers,” said Erika Hernandez a postdoctoral scholar of social development at Penn State. “Just having conversations with your kids, asking them about their feelings, and setting boundaries gets you most of the way to the socialization they need.”

But if you’re not completely sold on this theory, we did some research to identify the top 5 ways other experts are saying you should support your child this summer as they venture back into the world. 

In no particular order, experts say: 

 

Start Small 

In our excitement to get back into the swing of things, and re-start our “old-life,” we may inadvertently rush this process for our kids. We have to keep in mind that even though we’re comfortable spending time with new people in new environments, our children still need to operate at their own pace. Taking small steps with new interactions should also be managed with mini-milestones. Experts say setting small incremental goals can help children feel more in control about facing uncomfortable situations where their initial response may be to avoid.

 

Go at the Child’s Pace

Another way parents can ease the transition of re-socializing is to start with environments and people with whom the child may be more familiar. Pediatric psychologist Kate Eshleman, PsyD, encourages parents to remember kids need to go at their own pace. 

“Kids haven’t had to share with others, and they haven’t had to talk to unfamiliar adults,” Dr. Eshleman says, “so you may see some shyness or kids responding to other people in ways that aren’t typical of how they act around their families.”

 

A Routine Helps

Whether you want to re-start classes at Gymboree Play & Music, join a play-date group or head to the farmer’s market, other experts say it’s best to create a routine around the places your child will socialize in. Pandemic aside, when babies and toddlers are a part of familiar activities and routines, they establish relationships with familiar people who help them gain a sense of self-confidence. And as older toddlers and young children grow, a routine can help them demonstrate independence.

 

Listen to Them in Busy Environments

One of the positive benefits children experienced in the last year was more of their parent’s undivided attention. In many cases, they haven’t had to compete with other adults or people to get your attention. As social engagement for your family picks up, don’t forget to listen to your child when other people are around. They need to know you haven’t cut them off now that other adults are around. We found this proven research on the CDC website that gives some examples of how to actively listen to your child so they feel supported. 

 

Try the Scaffold Approach

The concept of Scaffolding is that a light framework helps to support new skills as the child is stretching beyond their current, stable abilities. It teaches kids to reach higher because the scaffolding provides extra support. When the child can do it themselves, the support is removed. And just like a building supported by scaffolding during construction, it stands on its own.

According to Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, author of The Scaffolding Effect, the three pillars of scaffolding are support, structure, and encouragement. At every stage, parents can model and teach positive, prosocial behaviors, give corrective feedback, and boost self-esteem. 

In practical terms, Scaffolding means: 

  • Support your children with empathy, and validation. Assure your child that you understand their fears and concerns. 
  • Provide security through scheduling. Many of our structural norms — like having breakfast and going to Gymboree Play & Music were upended during the pandemic. You can ease a child’s anxiety by reestablishing old household routines and reinforcing rules more than you have in the past. 
  • Encourage your kids to put themselves out there. This can be as simple as taking them to the park and encouraging them to play with other kids, or arranging play dates where the kids can interact with other kids to watch a movie, bake or engage in a shared interest or activity. 

Helping Your Toddler Thrive with MFT Michelle Tangemen.

Episode Information

In this episode of the Parent Pod, we spoke to Michelle Tangemen the founder of the Thriving Toddler.


Michelle is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She specializes in working with children & families by applying her experience in developmental psychology and behavior analysis. She has over a decade of experience using evidence-based practices to decrease undesired behaviors and increase adaptive/desired behaviors in order to strengthen the relationships between parent and child. Her goal is to support parents as they navigate the challenges that come with parenting.

Learn more at https://www.thrivingtoddler.com/.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Conscious Untigering and Peaceful Parenting with Author with Iris Chen

Episode Information

In this episode of The Parent Pod, we spoke to Iris Chen, Iris Chen is an author, unschooling mom, deconstructing tiger parent, and founder of the Untigering movement. As an advocate for peaceful parenting and educational freedom for children, her mission is to inspire generational and cultural transformation, especially among Asian communities.

She spent 16 years living overseas in China (land of the tiger parent!), but now resides in her native California with her husband and two sons. You can read more about her adventures in parenting and unschooling at www.untigering.com.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Postpartum Plans and Parent Education with Julia Mitchell

Episode Information

In this episode of The Parent Pod, we spoke to Julia Mitchell, the founder of Gather and Bloom. Julia Mitchell is a life-long family advocate and the founder of Gather + Bloom. With hundreds of families assisted, Julia combines research-based methods with over twelve years of time-tested experience to provide custom postpartum plans, parent education, and newborn care.

Learn more about her company at www.gatherandbloom.co.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Car Seats, Lactation Support and Everything in Between with Tot Squad Founder Jen Saxton

Episode Information

In this episode of The Parent Pod, we spoke to Tot Squad founder Jen Saxton about how she’s helping families identify and hire the best experts for their family.

Jen is the founder and CEO of Tot Squad. She started Tot Squad in 2011 during her time at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where her business idea won first place in the Kellogg Cup Business Plan Competition. She’s been featured on CNBC, Fast Company, Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and The Doctors, you can learn more about her through LinkedIn, and through the Tot Squad website.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Yoga & Meditation for Kids with Yo Re Mi founder Rachel Costello

Episode Information

In this episode of The Parent Pod we spoke to Yo Re Mi founder Rachel Costello about the benefits of teaching yoga to kids and families.

Rachel Costello is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher specializing in hatha, vinyasa, prenatal, postpartum, yoga nidra, trauma-informed yoga and yoga for children and families. She trained with Dharma Mittra and also studied at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in India, with Rainbow Kids Yoga in Toronto, and at Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. She is currently working toward a Yoga Therapy Certification through the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. Through Yo Re Mi, Rachel works with schools, educators and early childhood professionals to bring music, yoga and mindfulness to young children all over NYC. She is an artist, singer, and performer and loves incorporating dance, theater and music into her classes. Rachel has been teaching both adults and children since 2005 and, as mother of two, especially loves sharing the benefits of yoga and mindfulness with women, children and families.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Exploring Toys as Tools in Play with Scientific Mommy Co-Founder Erin O’Connor

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Erin O’Connor the co-founder of Scientific Mommy.

The Director of New York University’s Early Childhood Education Program, Erin is a tenured professor and holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Masters in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Masters in School Psychology from Columbia University. Erin teaches human development and education classes to pre- and in-service teachers in New York City schools. She also co-directs a community partnership working with families and caregivers. 

​In addition, Erin leads a research program examining relationships with mothers and teachers and the impacts of these relationships on children’s development in early and middle childhood. She also conducts randomized control trials of relationship-building interventions on the language and social development of pre-kindergarten children from low-income families and neighborhoods. 

Erin has published in educational and psychology journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Journal of Applied Psychology. Her work is supported by grants from several institutions including the Institute for Education Sciences. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Feel free to check out the episode and comment on the conversation with the #gymboreeplayandmusic hashtag. You can also shop a wide variety of toys in any of our open locations in North America.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Hiring the Perfect Caregiver with the Windy City Nanny Florence Ann Romano

In this episode of The Parent Pod spoke to the Windy City Nanny (Florence Ann Romano) about everything from nanny cams to hiring dos and don’ts for parents.

Florence Ann Romano, The Windy City Nanny ™, is an author, podcast co-host of “Finger Painting the Future”, a philanthropist and child-care expert who has always had a special place in her heart for children. Romano worked for over 15 years as a nanny, beginning as a ‘Mommy’s helper’ at the age of 11. She believes the key to success for a family is by focusing on what she has coined as THE TRIFECTA – parent, child, and caretaker working in unison toward common, family goals.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Parent Self-Care With Author & Expert Kristi Yeh

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Parent Self-Care Expert Kristi Yeh about the ways parents can practice self-care, especially in the winter months.

Kristi Yeh is a parent of two, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been practicing in California for over ten years. She currently works in school-based mental health as a Wellness Coordinator at a public elementary school. Kristi has been passionate about self-care personally and professionally for years, which led her to start Parent Self-Care, write a book for parents about their wellness, and launch the Mental Mile podcast.

You can visit her online at https://parentselfcare.com/

And you can purchase her book Self-Care 101: Self-Care Inspiration for Busy Parents here.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.

Reinventing life, traditions and hand-me-downs with Rent a Romper Founder Lauren Gregor

Episode Information

In this week’s episode of the Parent Pod Podcast, we spoke to Rent a Romper founder Lauren Gregor about her family traditions, her business, and her life as a mom of two boys.

Lauren Gregor is a mom, wife, strategy director, soccer coach, and entrepreneur living in California with her 2 children, husband and a desire to help save the planet. 

Check out her business Rent-a-Romper; a rental clothing subscription that ensures that you have the right clothes at the right time as your child grows. Her goal is to make parents’ lives easier while easing the negative effects that the fashion industry is having on the planet.

About

The Parent Pod podcast by Gymboree Play & Music is a weekly conversation that features various experts who are willing to share helpful tips for parents and grandparents on how to support their little ones during the first five years of life. Our podcast drives conversations around early childhood development and parenting strategies, with topics ranging from sleep training, and minimalist living to maternal mental health and postpartum depression.