Developing Your Children’s Social Skills

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Good social skills are an essential part of functioning in society. Therefore, developing these skills in children at a young age can help prepare and ensure your children for a lifetime of healthier interactions or relationships in all areas of life. While some children can naturally understand how to interact socially with others quite well, others may need a more guided approach. So what are the building blocks necessary to develop social skills? Well, here are some fundamentals that you can teach your children on how to act appropriately in social situations:

1) Teaching Empathy

When your children have a good grasp of empathy, they are much more likely to understand other people’s perspectives and form positive bonds with them. A great way to teach them this is by giving them examples of different situations and scenarios. Then, ask your children to imagine how they or others might feel when certain things happen in those situations. The goal here is to help increase your children’s ability to recognise and understand different perspectives followed by an appropriate social response. Younger children will benefit more from using storybooks that teach specific social skills in a fun and creative way. As a result, your children can hopefully grow up to be more aware of each other’s differences, respectful, empathetic, compassionate, less judgemental and be more supportive of others. 

 

2) Listening

It is not uncommon for children to sometimes tune out, be distracted, or have “selective hearing” when listening. However, poor listening skills and a short attention span can affect your child’s ability to learn and interact with others if not addressed early. While your child will be exposed to some social skills in a school setting, it doesn’t hurt to start at home. So what can you do? Start by teaching them to actively listen and focus on what others are saying without interrupting. Explain that this is respectful behaviour.  The best way to do this is by role-playing so that children can practise developing appropriate responses when it is their turn to talk. You can help them fill in gaps that they missed and encourage them to keep listening as you continue. Of course, it is natural for young and curious minds to want to interrupt in the moment of excitement, but they will learn to be patient with your guidance. Just remember to do the same when they are talking! You are the best example they can follow at this young and tender age.  As you continue to encourage good listening skills and auditory awareness in your children, this will instil good communication skills that can be put to use when they grow up and help in future relationships. 

3) Interpersonal Skills 

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Growing up, we have all wished to be included in an activity or group we were interested in, but perhaps we were just too shy. This is especially true for many younger children, who do not have many playdates and may not know how to go about it. It might make them quite uncomfortable, or they might get into an awkward situation, especially those who are super-shy or loud. Teach them the importance of basic greetings like saying ‘hello” and “goodbye” in a polite, respectful way and give them the confidence to introduce themselves. Guide them on the proper way to start a conversation and how to ask if they can join in an existing game or group of children. Communication is also learning to gather information, for example, learning to ask what the other child is playing. Then your child can learn to decide whether they would like to be included or not before asking for permission to join in the play. 

4) Non-Verbal Cues

Don’t forget to show your children what non-verbal cues and body language look like, such as smiling and making good eye contact. Practice with them using facial expressions, different energy levels, body posture and changes in behaviour. Again, pretend play is probably the best way for children to actively practise social graces and pick up on nonverbal cues that help them infer thoughts and emotions. Lead by example and show them how to get along with other children and to navigate themselves in a social setting. Allow more opportunities to interact with others so that they can practise, and it will also give you an idea of ways to suggest to your child ways to improve their communication skills. 

 

5). Be a role-model

As a parent, it is impossible not to be the primary role model for your children. They are always watching your every move and will pick up on how you interact with others. How do you carry yourself around others? Do you actively participate and listen carefully in your daily conversations? Do you show genuine empathy for friends and family in your life? While it is tough to model appropriate social behaviour for your kids all the time, no one is expecting you to be perfect. Being a positive role model does require tons of effort, forethought and self-control. But, as a parent, try to remember to be intentional and consistent in modelling the positive social behaviours you want your children to follow. When you treat others with respect, compassion and empathy, your children will learn to do the same. 

Take home

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It is important to remember that every child is different, each with unique personalities and varying social interaction ranges for other children and grown-ups. For example, just like adults, some children have a more outgoing, extroverted personality than others. Thus, a shy and introverted child should not be expected to interact the same way. The same goes for younger children and those with special needs who may only feel comfortable socialising for a short period.  As they get older, they may require a different set of strategies and explanations when it comes to social skills.  Still, the messages should essentially stay the same. Just remember – equipping your children with good social skills can hopefully help them express themselves better, connect better with others and build stronger relationships.

Developing Your Children’s Social Skills

iZPX9bKWwqa8wKIQ70N62d EgIG1Vhz64bsg2lNUwNT8tJ7l XvtxTKs95YV8G2fEnj2 zLshP3AtVBdRKHgTTmDgOQuepf9a1g68y8YEVpJWxI Sso89Ahkcv0Pm2RfKuckMcXjnvJBCO68v6UKFO4Cw

Good social skills are an essential part of functioning in society. Therefore, developing these skills in children at a young age can help prepare and ensure your children for a lifetime of healthier interactions or relationships in all areas of life. While some children can naturally understand how to interact socially with others quite well, others may need a more guided approach. So what are the building blocks necessary to develop social skills? Well, here are some fundamentals that you can teach your children on how to act appropriately in social situations:

1) Teaching Empathy

When your children have a good grasp of empathy, they are much more likely to understand other people’s perspectives and form positive bonds with them. A great way to teach them this is by giving them examples of different situations and scenarios. Then, ask your children to imagine how they or others might feel when certain things happen in those situations. The goal here is to help increase your children’s ability to recognise and understand different perspectives followed by an appropriate social response. Younger children will benefit more from using storybooks that teach specific social skills in a fun and creative way. As a result, your children can hopefully grow up to be more aware of each other’s differences, respectful, empathetic, compassionate, less judgemental and be more supportive of others. 

 

2) Listening

It is not uncommon for children to sometimes tune out, be distracted, or have “selective hearing” when listening. However, poor listening skills and a short attention span can affect your child’s ability to learn and interact with others if not addressed early. While your child will be exposed to some social skills in a school setting, it doesn’t hurt to start at home. So what can you do? Start by teaching them to actively listen and focus on what others are saying without interrupting. Explain that this is respectful behaviour.  The best way to do this is by role-playing so that children can practise developing appropriate responses when it is their turn to talk. You can help them fill in gaps that they missed and encourage them to keep listening as you continue. Of course, it is natural for young and curious minds to want to interrupt in the moment of excitement, but they will learn to be patient with your guidance. Just remember to do the same when they are talking! You are the best example they can follow at this young and tender age.  As you continue to encourage good listening skills and auditory awareness in your children, this will instil good communication skills that can be put to use when they grow up and help in future relationships. 

3) Interpersonal Skills 

Y9ythaVgCiPvN9du16z8QHUTlo1R0RzIfOVpgw9BN0aKY6t soKX7BLUfIwyaIXkEbipADvwnP7ZEjFZ3aHPLwgG5tkMPbkCyxwVzEEjhRo7rkmi9FMblrb0kp19Iw5ft FLjzom7XL098s7TVN1CC1eWVzwxLVa6xM D4N

Growing up, we have all wished to be included in an activity or group we were interested in, but perhaps we were just too shy. This is especially true for many younger children, who do not have many playdates and may not know how to go about it. It might make them quite uncomfortable, or they might get into an awkward situation, especially those who are super-shy or loud. Teach them the importance of basic greetings like saying ‘hello” and “goodbye” in a polite, respectful way and give them the confidence to introduce themselves. Guide them on the proper way to start a conversation and how to ask if they can join in an existing game or group of children. Communication is also learning to gather information, for example, learning to ask what the other child is playing. Then your child can learn to decide whether they would like to be included or not before asking for permission to join in the play. 

4) Non-Verbal Cues

Don’t forget to show your children what non-verbal cues and body language look like, such as smiling and making good eye contact. Practice with them using facial expressions, different energy levels, body posture and changes in behaviour. Again, pretend play is probably the best way for children to actively practise social graces and pick up on nonverbal cues that help them infer thoughts and emotions. Lead by example and show them how to get along with other children and to navigate themselves in a social setting. Allow more opportunities to interact with others so that they can practise, and it will also give you an idea of ways to suggest to your child ways to improve their communication skills. 

 

5). Be a role-model

As a parent, it is impossible not to be the primary role model for your children. They are always watching your every move and will pick up on how you interact with others. How do you carry yourself around others? Do you actively participate and listen carefully in your daily conversations? Do you show genuine empathy for friends and family in your life? While it is tough to model appropriate social behaviour for your kids all the time, no one is expecting you to be perfect. Being a positive role model does require tons of effort, forethought and self-control. But, as a parent, try to remember to be intentional and consistent in modelling the positive social behaviours you want your children to follow. When you treat others with respect, compassion and empathy, your children will learn to do the same. 

Take home

OGKCRfd5ZZlPu22C25p5anqKAyQdLiJuLS13T8kAx80suyVWYGzQAzcQrLJzNXgkN4sKO3GRh96cisKofrny6FC5XyA32CjuKmdUMZd0Z yftmsZPYNznh4IrA3TyUJn5XU8FmoNGs t9MLUZvS ZalnDvEz0MySCOutk8D729BpGOoq8 soDtiQ

It is important to remember that every child is different, each with unique personalities and varying social interaction ranges for other children and grown-ups. For example, just like adults, some children have a more outgoing, extroverted personality than others. Thus, a shy and introverted child should not be expected to interact the same way. The same goes for younger children and those with special needs who may only feel comfortable socialising for a short period.  As they get older, they may require a different set of strategies and explanations when it comes to social skills.  Still, the messages should essentially stay the same. Just remember – equipping your children with good social skills can hopefully help them express themselves better, connect better with others and build stronger relationships.

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