Communication is an essential part of life. The earlier your children learn social skills, the better. Socially savvy kids tend to be more emotionally healthy.
Many kids struggle with basic communication skills such as making eye contact and having a face-to-face chat with friends. As a result of spending so much time with their toys and gadgets like games – they have far fewer opportunities to Interact and learn how to pick up on people’s body language and tone of voice.
Friendships and social interaction are extremely important for our self-esteem. As a matter of fact, humans are naturally social beings.
We are more comfortable when we’re connected, sharing strong emotions and stories.
Social inability can be a lifelong problem if it is not nipped in the bud.
Therefore it is imperative that social skill deficits be identified early and addressed in the same way we identify and address children’s learning problems. After all, social competence can be instrumental to one’s success in life.
However making friends doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
Some children are naturally social than others because of their temperament, it takes practice to improve on it. You can help your child by rehearsing social situations and role playing ahead of time.
If your child is struggling with communicating with others, Here are some activities you can try with your child to help improve his or her social skills.
1. IT ALL STARTS AT HOME.
If children have good relationships with their parents at home, there are chances that they will have a healthy head start when interacting with other people. As parents it’s important we start interacting with our children from an early age.
2. TEACH YOUR CHILD THAT PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT
Since humans are naturally wired to be dependent on one another for survival, then the power of relationships cannot be underestimated.
We often times take comfort in the company of others, especially in times of anxiety or need.
3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS
If your child feels nervous by talking to strangers, you can help them practice talking to people in public. Brainstorm questions they can ask people about themselves to initiate a conversation. Write it down and encourage them to practice it. This will help them know how to express themselves.
4. HELP YOUR CHILD LEARN HOW TO REPAIR RIFTS
Conflict in play and day-to-day activities can be very common with children. Conflict resolution skills will help at home and in the workplace throughout life. It is a lot easier to learn effective and respectful conflict resolution skills as a child than it is as an adult. It’s crucial you help your child acquire this skill.
5. ENCOURAGE FRIENDSHIPS
If your child has close friends in school, church, Mosque and in the neighbourhood, you can help encourage the friendship by inviting others to your home or taking your child to visit his friend(s).
6. ASK OPEN MINDED QUESTIONS
This kind of question will make your child learn how to converse and interact properly with people. Try to avoid asking questions that have a direct answer such as “Yes OR No”. Instead, ask questions that will have a longer reply which will lead to a conversation.
7. TRY EXTENDING INVITATIONS FOR BIRTHDAY PARTY
Brainstorm a list of different invitations your child can extend to other kids.
Practice how to extend a casual invitation that sounds friendly and not too formal with your kids. Don’t forget to teach your child how to respond politely when someone declines your invitation. Let your child know that it’s okay for people to decline an invitation.
8. FIND TIME TO READ WITH YOUR CHILD
This activity will help them increase their vocabulary and communication skills. In the long run, build their confidence. It promotes longer attention span, which is an important skill for your kid to be able to concentrate. It also builds listening skills and imagination.
Like any other skill, social skills can be gradually learned. The earlier your child starts practicing, the better your child will have the ability to begin and continue a conversation with people without too many distractions. This will really help your child in the long run.
If you have any other ideas to help a child with his or her social skills please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.