Social skills come easily to many children, but others may need more emphasize on social skills in order to pick them up. If you are in the process of teaching your child social skills, these tips may help you encourage them to learn some new ways to interact. When children enter groups and interact with others their age, they will have these skills as helpful resources:
1. Tell Social Stories
Social stories provide text and visual reminders of "right" and "wrong" in social situations. Stories can illustrate real-life situations for children to learn how they should respond similarly.
2. Play Social Games
Cooperative games and puzzles are great for improving social skills. Children learn via gameplay, even if they don't realize it. Playing games where you model good interactions and ask questions about the "shoulds" and "should nots" is helpful for small children.
3. Encourage Children to Ask for Help
Many children are too shy to ask questions, but it is important to encourage children to communicate their needs early on. Teaching children that it is totally fine to ask for help builds confidence and ensures that children are never ashamed of getting help they need. It also allows them to be compassionate toward other people who are asking for help.
4. Practice Proper Communication
For everything from apologizing to giving directions, communication is essential. Model good communication, and then encourage children to follow suit. Encourage children to communicate not only with adults, but also with other children. You will see this happen with children very young, as parents suggest to their newly talking babies that they say certain words or phrases.
5. Discuss Conflict Resolution
Conflict is inevitable, whether we are talking about toddler spats about sharing or relationships arguments. The earlier a child learns how to resolve conflict peacefully, the easier a time children will have learning how to deal with it as they age. Additionally, children are going to pay attention to the way you manage conflict. Modeling comes into play here.
6. Address Anxiety When Possible
Anxiety is often associated with adulthood, but children are also anxious in social situations. You can also address sensory triggers at this time. If anxiety seems to be a struggle for your child, therapy may be a smart choice.
Your child is never too young to learn the importance of social skills, and they will learn much of this from you. Contact a company like Let's Go Play, Inc for more information and assistance.