As parents, we all want our children to be able to make their way in the world comfortably. Doing this means being able to behave acceptably in social situations and relate to others effectively.
Every society has its own rules of what is acceptable and what is not. Helping your children develop socialization skills by teaching and modeling can be very beneficial and productive especially for preschoolers.
Making your child a part of fun-filled sociable experiences such as summer day camp makes it a whole lot easier for him or her to develop social skills. Day camp features activities that are geared toward improving skills like sharing, taking turns, working as part of a team, and treating others with kindness while under the watchful eyes of their counselors.
The question now is what other things can we do as parents to help our child develop social skills?
Before we move down to that let me ask a very important question.
Why do so many children have difficulty developing social skills?
There are a ton of reasons why children have difficulties in learning social skills, but in most cases, it is associated with children with development delays and/or executive function deficits or ADHD. Children with ADHD have difficulties with developing skills that require the frontal lobe part of the brain to be efficient – which includes some aspects of social skills. In most cases, they do not recognize social problems, and they also find it difficult to understand the perspective of other people.
Another reason is that the child may not have language skills to negotiate or resolve difficulties. This makes them feel as if they are not being listened to and as such results in poor social skills.
Poor social behavior may have also been modeled or reinforced, so children simply imitate this. However, sometime it can be related to pervasive development disorder such as Asperger’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.
Well, no matter the case or level of difficulty here are a few tips on how to help your child develop social skills. Children needs a lot of practice and reinforcement.
Arrange Play Dates
Toddlers can benefit from having peers around; it will help your child learn about how to act when a friend comes over and how to be polite to peers. First, make sure you have enough toys for everyone as your child may have difficulty sharing his toys at first. You can also go over a few potential play activities ahead of time, role play, practice manners and remind him about taking turns and sharing.
One of the ways to help your kid develop social skills is by display positive and warm emotions at home as a parent. Your youngster is sure going to imitate this positive behavior which will, in turn, reflect on how he or she relates to others, warm, upbeat and with more ease. It has been proven that youngsters who experience a lot of positive emotions at home develop better social skills.
Now you know your child learns from you, in fact as a parent, your child’s primary relationship is with you. This means when you are open with them and listen to them, you make them even more empathetic and aware of the feelings of others which makes them more likely to get along well with company. Since they look up to you, they become confident that they can rely on you for support and as such become emotionally secure and able to adapt to new social situations.
Don’t Dismiss Negative Feelings
If your child returns home all upset because of an incident with peers, feel concerned and talk to him or her about it and in a relaxed way. Be supportive and also try to help your toddler figure out solutions in a positive manner, let him cry or vent and then do well to talk to him or her about emotions, encourage a confident attitude toward problem-solving in your youngster as this will help them become more self-controlled and socially adept.
With all these, you’re sure going to help your child develop the social skills he or she needs to be able to get along at school, among peers or in other groups so that they can enjoy the benefits and advantages that communities provide. Being a good role model is an ultimate way to do this as your youngster will always look up to you and within a relatively period learn how to both make and keep friends.
If your child is still having difficulties after all the tips mentioned above have been exhausted, then you need to consult with a therapist.
For more information or to schedule appointment online, please visit our Child Counseling page or call us at 919-647-4600.
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure .
Social skills are complex and not all children learn them naturally. Some children need extra help and support to make friends and, not to mention, to keep them.
How to Teach Your Child Social Skills
Here are some ideas to help your child develop social skills:
Observe your child.
Take every opportunity you can to observe your child interacting with others. Invite other children around and observe your child’s social skills, you can also do this in other situations e.g. at the park, the swimming pool, beach, on holiday, or at family gatherings.
This will give you an idea of which areas your child needs to work on.
Is your child the type who hangs back with a tendency to be shy?
Does she like to be the ‘boss’ with everything on her terms?
Is your child able to share and take turns?
Does he listen to what his friends have to say?
Is she flexible? If a game she has suggested does not go down well, can she ‘go with the flow?’ or will this situation lead to upset.
Observe how other children play.
If you know children who seem to be popular with plenty of friends, think about what it is that helps them to be like this.
Chances are they will have well developed social skills. If you get the chance to help out at your child’s school you will have ample opportunity to observe children’s social behaviour, especially in the playground.
Alternatively, just watch other children when you are out with your own.
What is it these popular children actually do?
Teach social skills.
Teach your child the social skills they need in the same way you would teach anything else, here are some tips:
Explain what to do.
‘Remember to say Hello and smile when you meet someone new’
‘If you want a go with something someone else has got, ask them nicely if you can have a turn, what would you say?’
Show your child what to do.
Role model good social skills yourself, let your child see you interacting with as many people as possible and talk about how you feel in certain situations:
‘I was not sure if the lady in the shop was in a very friendly mood today, I smiled at her but she didn’t smile back.’
‘The receptionist at the doctors was so kind and helpful wasn’t she’
‘The people at my new work made me feel very welcome.’
Notice the positive.
Let your child know what you think they are good at when it comes to social skills. Maybe they are kind and think of others, or perhaps they have a positive attitude and always want to be friends with people.
Make sure you notice when they are using these skills and comment on what you see:
‘I saw you help that little girl that was kind’
‘I noticed how good you were at taking turns on the swing’
Use situations at home as well:
‘Thanks for asking so politely’
‘Well done for not interrupting me when I was talking to the other Mums.’
Identify areas to improve.
Have a chat with your child and say you want to help them with their friendships, ask your child:
What makes a good friend?
Brainstorm some ideas together, perhaps think of some characters from books TV or films. For example for younger children: Is Tigger in ‘Winne the Pooh’ a good friend?
He is an important friend to the others, but all that bouncing around must get a little annoying sometimes, does Tigger realize that?
Think of some characters to talk about to older children: in ‘Harry Potter’ for example, what is it that makes Hermione, Harry and Ron such good friends? Are they kind, do they listen to each others opinions? Do they share things? Do they consider each others feelings?
Set up opportunities to practice.
If you feel your child is not good at turn taking perhaps, or always wants to be the one in charge set up situations at home that will give them the opportunity to practice these skills. Use board games and team games that require co-operation.
Coach your child before and during play, use descriptive praise when they do well.
‘Remember it’s important to wait your turn so everyone can enjoy the game’
‘Good Archie, you are waiting your turn politely even though you are desperate to have a go.’
If your child is shy and too scared to ask to join in games in the playground teach them how to do this by giving them specific suggestions:
Say something eg. ‘That looks fun’
Say something nice eg. ‘You’re really good at that’
Ask to join in ‘Can I have a go please’
Pretend practice this at home, for young children use teddies or dolls, for older children act out these scenarios with them.
Encourage small steps.
The goal might be for your child to be able to join in with a game in the playground or the park but at first just watching and smiling might be all she can manage, praise every step along the way.
If your child seems to be struggling with social skills it’s worth taking the time to ‘go the extra mile’ and support them with this. It will take time and there will be set backs along the way, but remember you have a huge influence over your child and you are their first and potentially best teacher.
It is common knowledge that social skills are essential for success in school. It may be the most important skill needed for a child in primary school, according to teachers. Social skills also impact a child’s life in adulthood. Social skills can and should be trained from young.
Development of social skills in children can begin at home.
Why are Social Skills Important?
Social skills guide how children interact and adapt to society.
Social skills are related to academic achievement and socio-emotional development. When peers do not accept a child, it takes a toll on his self-esteem and connection with others. This may make them unwilling to attend school or work hard academically.
A child may resort to aggressivesness when faced with difficulties as he lacks in social skills. This occurs when the child does not know how to regulate their behaviour. On the other hand, overly shy and reserved children may find it difficult to make friends. Both of these cases may lead to greater distance between them and their peers.
Ways to Develop Social Skills
Like any other skill, a few children may find it easier to learn social skills. Children learn through modelling, where they observe the social interactions of IMPORTANT adults in their lives. Hence, it is necessary for parents to be bearers of proper social interactions. Children learn best from their parents.
Your child may have specific social skills,which he/she lacks in. Here are a few ways by which you can help your child enhance his/her social skills:
Empathy is the ability to know understand what the person feels. This process helps a person be thoughtful and kind. Your child will come across friends and strangers going through unpleasant events in life. Their reaction to these situations will impact their social connection.
While teaching your child, you may first ask him/her to suggest a fitting response to such situations by creating scenarios. For example, how will your child respond to a student who gave the wrong answer to a question in class? After hearing their response, you can discuss the solution and suggest an appropriate way to react to the situation. It might be prudent to discuss their reactions or answers instead of rejecting them so as to guide them better.
2. Taking Turns
One way to develop social skills is through play! Children pick up many skills through a game. Engaging your child in play not only builds social interaction but also strengthens the parent-child bond.
When playing with your child, you can emphasise or praise positive actions. Knowing how to take turns is a social skill. You can develop this by teaching him/her how to wait for his turn and share with others while playing with him. Such skill would enhance patience and reinforce empathy. You may also call a few friends over for a playdate to develop this social skill.
3. Holding a Conversation
Maintaining a conversation requires listening skills and excellent attention span. Children also need to learn how to find topics to talk. A common mistake that children (and even adults) make is talking about themselves when there is a pause in a conversation. They could be unaware that this may be uninteresting to the other party. Hence, turn-taking is important here as well so that the other party has a chance to add to the conversation. Turn-taking is the skill of knowing when to start and finish a turn in a conversation. A person will be more willing to converse when they are interested in the topic. Otherwise, they may avoid discussions in the future. Due to the skills needed to hold a conversation, this may be tougher for children who are more impulsive.
You can teach your child to ask questions related to the person instead. This can be a general question like, “Did you like the assembly talk by the Principal today?” By having regular two-way communication with your child,they would be able to master the art of communication in school and even in the work place.
4. Listening Skills
Social skill is learning how to adapt the tone of voice and responses according to the situation. For example, a different tone of voice is used when talking to friends as compared to teachers. Children who are more socially adept understand that a more formal, respectful tone should be used when talking to teachers. They switch to a more casual tone among friends. Not doing so may make the child appear aloof or rude.
You can model this social skill for your children with the way you interact with different people in different situations.
Developing your child’s social skills at home is possible. Don’t worry if your child is shy and reserved or finding it hard to make friends. As parents, you can (1) rehearse scenarios that may occur, (2) give them chances to practice the skills and (3) model behaviour. While it is ideal to develop social skills early, it is never too late to improve them.
Social skills. Social intelligence. Emotional intelligence. As a parent you can get lost in buzz words that relate to your kids’ relationships with others. Whatever you call it, parents just want to help their child make friends and have a positive social life. How do you do that without dictating your child’s social life? Jenna Glover, PhD, a child psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, offers some advice.
Developing positive relationships
Parents should find out who is in their child’s peer group. You can get a good idea about the other kids by connecting with their families.
Make sure your child knows that building and maintaining friendships is a skill. The more they practice developing social skills, the better they will be. Talk to your children about the importance of introducing yourself, showing interest in others, finding common ground and being inclusive.
Finally, your child’s social skills start at home. You learn how to share at home. You learn how to talk to others at home. Do your children have positive relationships with their siblings? Do they have positive relationships with you? That’s where it all begins.
How to prevent your child from becoming a bully
Unfortunately, kindness is not always a child’s instinctual reaction. Sometimes aggression comes more naturally. If your child has been the aggressor towards another child, make sure to link the behavior to the appropriate consequence.
“For example, if the bullying was online, a child should lose access to electronics or social media for an appropriate period of time,” says Natalie Walders Abramson, PhD, a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Colorado. You should also attempt to connect with your child’s school and fellow parents, keep a close eye on your child’s interactions and set a positive example.
How to help when your child is bullied
Bullying can come in multiple forms, so be aware of social, verbal and physical issues your child might be dealing with. Being attentive in three main areas can help prevent your child from being bullied or help mitigate it quickly:
- Let your child know they can talk to you about anything. Focus mostly on listening and hear them out no matter how big or small their issue seems.
- Get to know your child’s peers and their parents. This will give you lines of communication into their circle of friends and allow you to track potential issues.
- Communicate regularly with school personnel. Stay in touch with teachers, counselors, coaches and anyone else who can tell you how your child is doing socially and emotionally.
Teaching empathy to children
Empathy is a skill you have to help your children develop. Kids can start to feel empathy as early as 3 or 4, but they won’t fully develop the skill until late adolescence or early adulthood. You can start by modeling empathy yourself and helping your child identify emotions in themselves and others. Volunteering, spending time around pets and discussing conflict are among the tactics that can build empathy and help your child develop social skills.
Technology and cyberbullying
Growing up with technology and cyberbullying are increasingly important topics unto themselves. Ever-present technology and social media have added another dimension to parenting and social skill development. The first thing you can do is recognize the reality that your kids are growing up at least partially online. While things that happen on social media might seem trivial to you, your child likely views that differently. Acknowledge that their online interactions matter and try to help your child develop social skills online. Many of the same principles apply.
You should also set limits on when and where they can be on their devices. Monitor what they are doing online. Create open and honest lines of communication about what they are interested in and concerns they might have.
When your kid gets their first phone, you can’t blame them for playing with it. But too many times, they do so to the exclusion of other people. The truth is, tech has changed our kids’ friendships. Many of them would prefer to sit in their room and text than actually talk to someone. And in rare cases, they may not have any friendships that don’t revolve around a phone screen. One of the best ways to help kids use phones in safe, constructive ways is to teach them to build real-world relationships. These relationships encourage empathy, physical activity, and bonds that outlast any digital device. They’re the ones your kids will cherish and find meaning in. Don’t let your kid grow up glued to their device. Here are a few tips for knowing how to help a child develop social skills outside of their phone.
How to Help a Child Develop Social Skills
Spend Quality Time With Each Child Every Day
Time with your child doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. But as their parent, you need to show them that they’re special to you. Over time, they’ll see they need to treat others the same way.
Start with simple conversation: What did they learn in school today? Who’s that hip new artist they’ve been listening to? What do they want to do this weekend?
If you can’t get them to open up, try an activity instead. Cook dinner, take the dog for a walk, play catch, or listen to a podcast.
Eat Phone-Free Meals Together
These days, it’s hard to eat every meal as a family. That’s OK, but do try to sit down for dinner together at least every other evening.
Especially if you struggle to squeeze in family meals, make sure they’re phone-free. Silently staring at screens while you eat defeats the whole purpose.
Realize that you may need to get the ball rolling. Ask non-school questions, or let them teach you about a topic that interests them. If you have to, play “20 Questions” with everyone at the table.
Touch Base Before Bed
When your child is winding down is a great chance to connect. Show them how much more rewarding this can be than playing on their phone.
Not only does this highlight the importance of relationships, but it’s important for your kid’s health. Screens suppress melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Getting enough sleep is critical for kids’ social and emotional development.
Let Them Lead Conversations
It can be difficult to listen to your children talk about their favorite new Disney movie over and over again. But it’s important that you let them choose the subject of the conversation sometimes.
To build relationships, your child needs to feel like her ideas are valued. Not just following along, but actually leading conversations is part of getting to know new people.
As a parent, this has an added perk: It will give you a better idea of what your child is thinking about. You’ll get a better sense of who their friends are, what they care about, and how to help them become a productive adult.
Children (and adults) who have trouble putting down their phones are looking for connections to other people. Being present during conversations with your child shows them how to be present in their own relationships.
At work, at home, and in your social life, there’s always some new drama or task to worry about. Being present with your child means putting those things out of your mind. Give yourself permission to think about them after the conversation is over.
Unplug Around Them
Walk into any public place, and you’ll see adults glued to their phones. While you can’t control their behavior, you can provide a counterexample to your children.
Ask the whole family to unplug over holidays, during car rides, and on vacations. Your kids will probably protest at first, but they’ll be amazed at how fun road trips can be when everyone is focused on each other.
If you or your kids struggle with this, go somewhere without cell service. Go camping, take a float trip, or simply spend an afternoon hiking.
Sign Them Up for Group Activities
Group activities aren’t possible when everyone is focused on their phone. More important than the activity itself is the bonds they’ll build during it.
Let your child choose something they truly enjoy. Sports, band, student government, Boy Scouts, 4H, faith-based groups, volunteering organizations: All can help your child see just how fun interacting with others can be.
Give Them Love and Hugs
Human touch is important for your child’s development. Aim for 12 hugs (8 for adults) or other physical contacts — such as tousling their hair or patting their back — every day.
If your child pulls away from you, don’t be discouraged. Try playing games, like spinning them around, or simply holding their hand. If their avoidant behavior persists, reach out to your child’s doctor.
Healthy, real-world relationships make life worth living. Show them just how much more fun a conversation can be in person. They might even start putting down their phone without you having to ask.
What are social skills and why are they important?
Social skills are behaviors that promote positive interactions with others and the environment; skills we use in every aspect of our daily lives – at home, in the homes of friends and family, at work, the grocery store, at school, on the playground, in our neighborhood, and in our JCC. These skills are extremely important because they are the indispensable tools we need to make and maintain family relationships and friendships, hold jobs, follow social norms like waiting on line, listening to people when they talk to us, and respecting personal space. Without them, it would be difficult to navigate day-to-day life and things like eating in restaurants, going to the movies, or even just riding the bus, would become challenging. Most of us take these skills for granted, but for many, these skills need to be taught and practiced.
Why teach Social Skills?
Teaching social skills provide the essential “tool box” everyone at any age needs to strengthen their interpersonal relationships and cultivate greater independence. The goal is to improve social awareness and interaction in a variety of environments, such as home, school and community, where individuals can practice using the skills they learn to better understand and respond to social events in an age-appropriate way. Teaching these skills requires thoughtful and intentional structure, and to be truly successful, should be practiced in the “natural environment.”
Can successful social skills really be taught?
Absolutely. No matter what age a person is or what underlying challenges they may face, every child, teen or adult should have access to the right kind of support that will allow them to build successful social skills and develop self-confidence. Here are some tools that Jed Baker suggests in his eye-opening book Social Skills Training, (Baker, J. 2003). We, at the Guttenberg Center for Special Services, incorporate many of his proposed tools in our programs at the JCC:
How Not to Be a Space Invader (Respecting Personal Space)
- Stand at least one arm’s length away
- Don’t get too close
- Make eye contact
- Stay still – quiet hands and feet
- One mouth moving at a time
How to Ask Someone to Play
- Find a “friend”
- Find something to play that you both like
- Approach your friend without getting too close (no “space invader!”)
- Wait for your friend to make eye contact
- Ask: “Do you want to play with me?”
- If they say YES, great! If not, ask someone else or suggest something else you might both enjoy
Learn to Take Turns
When someone says “hello,” say “hello” back.
Two-question rule: When someone asks you a question, like “How are you?” and you answer it by saying: “I’m fine, thanks,” get in the habit of asking that person a question in return, such as “I’m fine. How are you?”
Social Skills Require Social Environments – The Importance of Community Activities
There is no better “natural environment” to learn and practice age-appropriate social skills than out in your community. Activities such as grocery shopping, visiting the library, going to the park or the Post Office, eating out, or attending programs at the JCC provide the “ultimate” natural environment to learn, practice and reinforce appropriate social skill development.
The JCC provides people of all ages and all kinds of special challenges with a wealth of programs and opportunities to learn, practice and develop the age-appropriate socials skills they need to live more satisfying, productive and meaningful lives. They learn in a structured and safe environment that offers the whole world in a microcosm. They can take classes, attend special events, eat in our café, swim in our pools, work out in our fitness centers, play on our playgrounds and tumble rooms, attend lectures and concerts and so many other things, that provide natural venues for learning and practicing social skills. The JCC is a community within itself and the “perfect place” for people with “special abilities” to socialize and build life-long friendships. It’s a place where everyone is welcome, included and valued.
How can one assess a social skills deficit?
Observation over time is the best way to assess the need for specialized instruction and ask yourself the following questions as you observe your child or loved one: “Is he/she able to listen and pay attention to someone who is speaking?”, “Is he/she able to maintain eye contact?”, “Is he/she able to ask for help?”, “Is he/she able to wait and take turns in a predictable setting?”, “Is he/she able to maintain appropriate personal space?” If the answers are “no,” that person probably needs some social skill support.
So, what do you do next?
Our community offers many opportunities for social skills development, and the JCC has a wide range of programming, including year-round social skills building classes targeted specifically for a wide range of ages:
- Sunday Funday for children ages 3-6
- Sunday Social Skills for children ages 5-8 and 9-12
- Transitions: On Our Own for ages 15-21
- Summer Camp Programs: Tikvah and Inclusion
- Inclusive vacation programs and after school programs all designed to provide appropriate support and a great learning environment.
We also maintain a highly-respected and renowned Therapeutic Nursery Program (pre-school age) that is dedicated to providing intensive pro-social and language-based educational programs for children ages 3-5. This program also provides a parent education training component for children who require intensive social skills and language intervention and instruction.
Some other community organizations that support the teaching and learning of social skills are:
- Marble Jam Kids
- West Bergen Mental Health Social Skills Programs
- Alpine Learning Group Social Skills Programs
One very exciting initiative is the Autism Friendly Theatre Program, which provides live theater experiences on Broadway or at the Push Cart Players at Paper Mill Playhouse. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also offers family-based programs to make the museum experience accessible and fun.
If you have any questions or require support, please reach out to me at [email protected]
Written by Shelley Levy
Director, Guttenberg Center for Special Services
Practical tips for developing your child’s social and emotional skills
As children grow and develop, certain milestones are used as a basic measurement tool. When they are babies, these milestones tend to be more physical in nature: is your child sitting, smiling, crawling, saying simple words? As children get older, parents and teachers look for things like reading and language skills, understanding numbers, catching a ball, tying shoelaces.
The more a child grows and begins to understand the world around them, the more complex developmental progress becomes. They start to develop an understanding of relationships, who they are, how certain things make them feel and the consequences of their actions.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help our children to grow into well-rounded and socially adept adults. We need to equip our kids with the skills to live successfully in the ‘everyday’, as good and kind human-beings who are able to think critically, cope when things don’t go as planned, and improve the lives of those around them.
After living in a global pandemic for the past year and a half, social and emotional learning is now more important than ever. While normality has been turned on its head, our children have had to cope with things that even we, as adults, are finding incredibly difficult.
The teachers and educational psychologists at HeronBridge College developed the GROW programme in the Preparatory school to focus on social and emotional learning as part of the school curriculum. GROW presents activities that encourage children to use their internal resources, question how they think about certain things, whether their actions are kind – to others as well as themselves – and walks them through coping mechanisms for moments of anxiety and stress.
The curriculum in the GROW programme is flexible and changes depending on the specific needs of the children in each grade. Last year, as children faced the new challenges presented by the pandemic, GROW was adapted to respond to the anxieties that they were facing and assisted them with tools to navigate this space.
Megan-Lee Spence-Ross, Educational Psychologist & Head of Learner Support at HeronBridge, offers the following activities to support social and emotional learning at home:
Invent a heart-powered super-hero
Ask your child what they believe to be their special ‘heart power.’ This could be kindness, generosity, caring for others, positivity, etc. Then carve out some time to talk about why this makes them special and what they would do with their super-power. Take it to the next step by drawing their super-hero, giving him/her a name, creating an outfit and presenting them to family with a story.
This activity helps children to conceptualise and vocalise what makes them unique. Creating a super-hero allows them to look inward in a fun way that is relevant to them, and using their super-power for good encourages empathy.
Make a worry jar
For children that need help coping with anxiety, this is a great exercise that provides a tangible way to verbalise and control their worries.
Find a glass or plastic jar, give your child some colourful paints or stickers and help them decorate it, and then label the jar. Work with your child to write down all their worries on strips of paper, place them in the jar for safe-keeping, and schedule ‘worry time.’
During your set ‘worry time’ – which can be after school or in the afternoon, but not right before bed – allow your child to open the jar, add some worries to it, or take some out to talk about with you. Use open-ended questions to help guide your child’s thinking, encouraging them to find solutions to their problems.
To help your child learn the skill of compartmentalising, stick within a given timeframe for ‘worry time’. Having an end to this dedicated exercise also allows your child to move forward, even if something is bothering them.
If your child finds that worries creep in during the day – as is natural for many of us – have them write it down and save it for worry time. You might find that your child doesn’t want to worry on a certain day, or has none – celebrate this – and even better, if something is no longer causing anxiety, find it in the jar and throw it away.
Find the gifts
Whether your family has been in a self-imposed lockdown, school has been closed, or parents have been working from home, work with your child to find the ‘gifts’ in your ‘pandemic situation.’
Ask your child to snap some pictures or make a video of the things that they have enjoyed or found special. This could be something as simple as being home with beloved pets, sleeping in late because of online school, or afternoon bike rides with dad.
By shifting the focus onto positive things, children are encouraged to create their own narrative in a space or time that might be very difficult for them. You might find it helpful to print out the pictures and stick them on your child’s bedroom wall as an encouraging reminder of the things that they find joy in.
Whatever tools you choose to assist your child in growing their social and emotional skills, the most important thing is to be there with them, actively engaging and showing them your love and care. Sometimes our children have feelings they can’t explain – that’s okay, so do adults – be their safe space and journey with them on figuring things out together.
Your bundle of joy will face numerous challenges and obstacles while trying to communicate and go about their tasks in the real world. Helping him/her develop necessary social skills and abilities to interact with the world around him/her is a must for ensuring happiness, mental peace and most importantly, a sense of belonging and identity. These cover a wide spectrum ranging from talking to people, effective communication, starting conversations, taking responsibility for behavior, listening, dealing with situations which are not comfortable, bonding, accepting, empathizing with others and giving compliments among other aspects.
To an extent, online hobby classes or other fun activities for kids may help greatly in building bonds, learning teamwork and peer to peer communication.
You can take your pick from multifarious Yellow Class fun activities online and a gamut of interesting hobbies to do online which will help your child develop social skills while learning new and interesting things at the same time.
Here are Some Additional pointers for parents in this regard.
Encourage Direct Eye Contact-
While talking to people, encourage your kids to make direct eye contact for better communication and confidence alike. Toddlers may have to practice for some time till they master the art of direct eye contact. You can all play games as a family like a staring contest or ask children to tell you something by looking into your eyes directly.
Enable your kids to mimic several emotions including disappointment, happiness, mischief, tiredness, anger, excitement, awkwardness and so on. Help them identify emotions by playing games or creating placards with various smileys. This will help them understand different emotions, demarcate between them and express better in turn.
Make your Children Communicate-
Your children should be taught how to interact, express and respond towards stimuli from a social perspective. This can be both non-verbal and verbal. Teach suitable responses and greetings to your kids. They will initially require guidance on interacting with other people suitably and also for getting over shyness and expressing actual feelings without hesitation. Your children should know that they have all the freedom in the world to ask questions, talk and communicate their desires, requirements and ideas.
Build the Right Environment-
Lonely kids may face problems with regard to interacting with the world around them. Give them good company and the right environment for interacting with various individuals. This is where hobby classes and other activities and online classes will help greatly in the current scenario. Children can pick up valuable social skills by interacting with teachers and peers so you should encourage them to take part in as many activities as possible.
Preparation for Advanced Social Skills-
Children who can express themselves and communicate seamlessly will be equipped to face future grown-up challenges in complicated scenarios. Prepare your children for more advanced social instances where they pick up skills such as resolving conflicts, negotiating, assertiveness, public speaking and non-verbal communication.
These are some tips that will greatly help you with regard to teaching your children valuable social skills.