Tips and Tricks to Help Improve Social Skills in Children
Social interaction is a critical component of growth and development during childhood. However, forming friendships and interacting socially with peers isn’t a skill that comes easily to everyone. Young children are not born with the innate knowledge of how to interact with people on a daily basis. Instead, they must learn how to form lasting connections with others in the world around them.
Fortunately, parents can encourage their children to thrive socially with guidance. Implement these tips and tricks to help improve social skills in children.
Model Appropriate Social Behavior
As children grow, they look to, analyze, and copy their parents’ behaviors. For this reason, modeling appropriate social behavior plays an essential role in guiding them in the right direction for daily interactions. Be consciously aware of your own everyday interactions with others that your child sees. Through effective role modeling, a child will come to understand how to manage various social interactions. They can then replicate suitable behavior with peers, community members, family, and friends.
Consider the possible social effects of childhood habits also. Struggling to make friends in school could lead to low self-esteem. Stopping a prolonged socially-inhibiting habit—such as digit sucking—is vital for decreasing social anxiety and boosting self-confidence when interacting with others. Concerned parents can determine alternatives that deter poor habits for healthy social development.
Promote Good, Active Listening
Active listening is a critical skill that even adults still struggle with. Why? The ability to fully decipher and absorb new information requires incredible focus and mental flexibility. Nonetheless, the long-term social benefits of having active listening skills outweigh the initial challenge.
Active listeners are good communicators and problem solvers with improved self-reliance, resourcefulness, and empathy. With age, children can learn how to actively listen to others through new opportunities for interaction. In these situations, encourage your child to ask questions, avoid interruption, maintain eye contact, and seek the contextual meaning of the message beyond the content.
Provide a Playful and Explorative Environment
The right type of environment is key to helping improve social skills in children and encouraging collaboration with others. When a child is young, let them explore the world around them through movement and interaction. One of the easiest ways to help your child grow and develop socially is through the simple act of play.
Playing with parents, siblings, or other children encourages good social behaviors, such as sharing, teamwork, cooperation, and relationship building. Through a playful environment, children can learn how to pick up noticeable social cues, such as vocal intonations or body language. The more social opportunities your child experiences at an early age, the more intuitive their skills will become.
Photo – Cleyder Duque