How To Develop Social Skills In Kids
The way we interact with others is an essential life skill. Good social skills will ensure that your child is able to make friends and fit into society. Below are several ways to help kids develop social skills.
Encourage your child to play with other kids
The best way your child can learn to interact with others is by being allowed to play with other kids. By introducing your little one to other children while they are young, you can help them to naturally develop social skills. Preschool is one of the best places for young children to meet other kids. You can also take your child to playgrounds, attend baby groups and meet up with other parents that have kids. Don’t let your child get to school before they have a chance to regularly interact with kids – by this point other kids in their class will have already developed social skills and your child will have to do a lot of catching up.
Ask your child questions
Asking your child questions can help them to learn how to express opinions, express ideas and make decisions, as well as teaching them how to formulate questions themselves. Get in a habit of regularly asking your child questions throughout the day. Don’t just ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions – consider open ended questions that require them to stretch their language skills. Try to also be patient with questions that your kids may ask you.
Teach empathy, sharing and personal space
It’s important that kids are aware of others’ feelings, that they know how to share and they respect the personal space of others. These are all essential skills for warming ourselves to others – if your child is late in developing these skills, they could end up upsetting and angering other kids, and they will struggle to make friends. Talk to your child about feelings, practice taking turns with toys and discourage behaviours like climbing on others and pushing others early.
Role play with your child
Many parents can find pretend play exhausting – but it can have its educational benefits. In fact, it can be the perfect opportunity to role play social situations with your kids to help teach your child how to react in the right way. Next time your child is pretending to take their toys shopping or pretending to be a doctor, use this opportunity to try to teach skills like empathy, sharing, personal space, decision making and expressing ideas and opinions.
Be a good role model
Children constantly watch how their parents behave and learn from this behaviour. You should consider the way in which you socially interact with others in front of kids – are you setting a good example? Are you asking questions? Are you showing empathy? While parenthood can make many of us less patient and more irritable than we might usually be, it’s important that you make an effort to show good social skills when with your child – otherwise your little one will pick up bad habits.