In this materialistic world toddlers face many kinds of challenges from the very day they are born. To overcome all these problems they need to develop their social skills and interact with the world around them. Developing social skills is a critical part of their success and happiness, even more important than their academic results. A positive social skill allows children to enjoy better peer relationships whereas the children who lack social and emotional skills are more likely to have substance abuse and relationship issues. Fortunately, social skills can be taught so that children get to know how to get along with others. Parents can play an important role in this regard. Here are some ways to help your child develop some essential social skills:
Follow their interests
Firstly, you must know about your child’s interests because enjoying other things will come more naturally when a child is doing something he/she is genuinely interested in. Whether it is participating in a favorite sport, playing an instrument they like or being part of a club they are interested in, this is the first step toward building social skills. It also places a child around like-minded individuals that the child will probably feel more at ease with. While it is important to be able to socialize with those of varying interests, starting out with other kids who like the same things is an excellent way to build more social skills.
Give them the environment
None can live alone; similarly a lonely child may have difficulty in interacting with the world. Thus, give your children good company, exposure and chances to interact with different types of people. Generally, children with social skill deficits often have trouble reading things and interacting socially. Therefore, activities will be a great idea to assist them to be more comfortable with these situations. Playschools, hobby classes, playgrounds, sports activities, etc. will give them a chance to socialize with others. When children get engaged with other children or elders, they develop a range of interpersonal skills that become the foundation of their personality.
Practice role playing
Through play, parents and others can connect fully with their children and have fun. A parent or relatives can play with the child. It is beneficial that they give their children time, freedom and choice to play. If an adult makes all the decisions about how, what and when their child plays, the child won’t enjoy their play experiences. So, instead of directing them let them play however they want. It is a great way for kids to actively practice their social skills. However it will be wise to include body language, such as smiling and making eye contact, when advising your child. Encourage your child to look into their eyes and talk for effective communication.
Engage in activities
Engaging in activities improve the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and young people. Through different activities, children learn about the world and themselves. They also learn skills they need for study, work and relationships such as confidence, self-esteem, interactive skills and adaptability. If they practice physical activities such as running, swimming or riding a bicycle, it will improve their physical fitness, agility and stamina. If somehow they fail in any activity, explain that it is important to learn from mistakes, and try again. Help them to understand their limits and their boundaries. Allow them to have fun in their activity.
Decrease the screen-time
The more your child will get exposed to smartphones and other devices, the less he/she will be interacting with others. Such addiction will stop them from developing essential social skills. So, do not use digital devices to distract your children or keep them quiet. Talk to your children, play games or look at a book together. Join in your children’s screen time and talk about their online activity with a view to keeping track of what they are doing on the internet.
Teach them right emotions
When children are more likely to feel connected to other people and form positive bonds, then they have a better understanding of how others feel. Experts suggest teaching empathy by talking about different situations and scenarios with your child. Ask how other people might feel when each of these things happen. To teach them right emotion, let your children imitate a variety of emotions such as joy, anger, disappointment, excitement, mischief, weirdness, nervousness, tiredness, terror, danger, etc. Another idea can be effective - play ‘identify the emotion’ game by making faces or holding placards of different smiley. This will help them to differentiate emotions and express better. Moreover it is important when your children misbehave, you should make a straight face and tell them upfront that you are upset. Part of teaching empathy is to help children learn how to actively listen to others. This involves focusing on what others are saying and then thinking about what the speaker has said once the conversation is over.