Social skills are important for young kids to develop. These are integral to function well in society, to effectively create and maintain relationships, and ensure healthy interactions in all aspects of life. A child who is socially intelligent is one who is more likely to succeed in the future because they are capable of making conversation, they are considerate of others, and they can communicate effectively with others. The good news is that building social skills is something that parents can help their children do.
Being in school offers young kids more opportunities to socialize, mingle, and make friends with peers. This gives them more chances to sharpen and boost their social skills. But what happens outside of school? How about when schools are closed?
If you’re worried about these things, know that you shouldn’t be. There are several things you can do to continue building your child’s social skills at home!
Practice asking questions
Is your little one the shy type? Do they find it difficult to make friends because they’re too shy to start a conversation? Maybe one of the first things they need to learn is how to ask questions.
Start coaching your little one on asking questions and making conversations by doing a role-play. Pretend to be the reporter who is asking them about the toy car or doll they’re playing with. Ask them what they like about it and why it is their favorite toy. Get them to talk more about it. Then, switch places. Get hold of another toy and let them ask similar questions or any other questions they can think of. Who knows, they might actually end up liking their role as the interviewer/reporter!
Teach them the art of starting a conversation
Starting a conversation or getting someone’s attention or joining a group of kids playing together isn’t always easy for kids. But they can learn this art with practice. Teach your little one how to properly approach another kid or a group of kids. Teach them the right greetings, the right things to say, and how to say them. Then practice this at any random moment during the day, over the dinner table, or in the middle of playtime. Use real-life scenarios and see how they’ll respond.
Watch TV shows together
There are plenty of kid’s TV shows that present opportunities for conversations. Leverage these shows during their screen time to analyze and discuss the interactions between characters. Watch TV as a family and find segments within the show that can spark conversations. Let them also observe facial gestures and behaviors and take cues from those.
Use picture cards
Because not everything about social skills is verbal, it’s important that children learn about nonverbal skills, too. One of the things that can help are picture cards. Use picture cards that show various body languages and facial expressions. Let them practice interpreting what a person feels based on visual cues. This will help them tell whether a person is sad, angry, bored, happy or frustrated.
Tone also plays an important role in communication. One statement may have any one of several different meanings, based on how it is delivered. This is why it’s important that kids learn how to understand and interpret tone when building social skills.
To practice, use a tape recorder or voice record on your mobile phone to record different emotions. Use only one statement but deliver it in different ways with varying tone and feelings. Then, let your child identify the emotions that come along with each delivery. For example, you can say “I want pizza!” and use an excited tone, angry tone, bored tone and so on.
Enhance their attention span
Having better social skills means longer attention spans. And children aren’t really great at being attentive and focusing on one thing for a significant amount of time. But don’t worry, it’s a skill they can learn. Pick one topic you can talk about and say three sentences – 2 sentences pertaining to the topic and one that’s off-topic. Let them analyze and identify which one isn’t related to the topic.
Developing social skills should be part of a child’s holistic and healthy growth and development. If you want your little one to grow up to be a socially intelligent individual, follow these tricks to building your child’s social skills at home. For more parenting tips or if you’re looking for the best preschool for your little one, please visit Imagine Nation Learning Center.