Developing social skills in children is one of the most important things we need to teach our little ones. Social skills allow children to undersand how they belong in the world and how they interact with the people around them. Listening, engaging in conversation, taking turns and, showing gratitude and empathy are all skills your child will learn when you show them how people relate and talk to each other. Role playing social situations, like a cafe or a doctors office, can help your child feel more comfortable when they are in those settings in real life.
Here are 9 ways and reasons to develop social skills in your child.
Model positive social behaviours: Children learn by watching and imitating those around them - so role playing in kitchens or vet's offices is a great way to practice social skills.
Teach empathy: Help children understand and appreciate others' feelings and perspectives. When someone takes the time and genuinely cares about your feelings it promotes wellbeing in both individuals. Model this to your children.
Practice active listening: Encourage children to pay attention and show interest when others are speaking. Ask questions and respond accordingly. This can be as simple as asking "why?" and encouraging them to elaborate.
Encourage cooperation: Teach children to work together and share with others - and we know this can be tricky when siblings or friends don't want to share, but the more we encourage it and practice, the better your child will get at this.
Provide opportunities for decision making: Allow children to make choices and solve problems on their own about the correct way to respond to others. If you are role playing a café allow the child to choose their order, even if it's bizarre!
Reinforce positive behaviours: Praise and reward children for exhibiting good social skills. If they say something inappropriate, redirect. It's almost like training when we practice social interactions at home.
Teach appropriate emotional expressions: Help children understand and manage their emotions in healthy ways - laughing if someone tells you they are upset isn't a great reaction. If someone says something rude how should we respond? If someone asks a question then do we respond? We say so much with our expressions - so don't forget about this!
Encourage self-reflection: Teach children to think about their own behaviour and how it affects others - this will help them understand and regulate their own emotions when in future situations.
Role play: Provide opportunities for children to practice and refine their social skills through play and other interactive activities - and at CleverStuff we have so many of these toys that will help you engage in fun role play situations.