Making friends comes natural for some kids but not all children find it easy to socialize. In fact, most kids need a little push and help in order to start conversing with other people. Some are shy and lack confidence while others find it difficult to develop social skills.
Social interaction and camaraderie are important factors to boost your kid’s confidence and self-esteem. As a parent, there many ways you can help and support your child. You can teach your child how to properly interact with other people and practice role-playing activities with them. This will help them enhance their social skills.
Here are 10 tips on how you can help improve your child’s social skills:
1. Ask questions – Start with asking your child questions and let them answer each. Afterwards, take turns and give them instructions to ask you questions. This technique helps your child learn to create conversations through role-playing. With consistent practice, your child will become more comfortable talking to other people.
2. Create awareness – If your child has a special condition, it is better to let other people know about their disability. This takes out the guesswork between the children or adults. Being upfront and honest about your child’s situation is important so that others can understand them more.
3. Support their hobbies and interests – By supporting and encouraging your child’s interest, they become more open to interact with other children. It is recommended that you include their friends as well so they can have someone to interact with. If your kid loves to swim, then schedule a weekly swimming class with other children.
4. Seek their teacher’s advice – Set an appointment with your child’s teacher and ask about their observation. How does your child interact and connect with other students? This will help you become aware of your child’s actions in school so that you which area you can focus and improve.
5. Look for an activity – Creating fun social activities for your child will boost their interaction skills. Set play dates with other children and prepare activities to keep them engaged. Playing with other kids is a great way for them to practice their social skills.
6. Use picture cards – By using picture cards, you can teach your child to understand and relate to the different emotions shown in the cards. This will help them comprehend when a person is happy, angry, sad or bored. After every session, review what you’ve discussed so that you know if you are making progress with your child. Once they become familiar, you can advance by showing them videos.
A study was conducted to determine if TV shows such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood affect children’s social skills. Results show that kids who watched this show have higher empathy and can recognize emotions better, and is more confident in social situations.
7. Parallel play – This form of activity allows children to play adjacent to each other but they do not interact with each other. It is human nature to become curious of what others are doing especially if the activity interests them. Therefore, this type of play can spark your child’s interest and create interaction among kids.
8. Invite friends over – As your child’s playmates, neighbors and classmates to come to your house to play. Since your child is comfortable at home, they tend to be more receptive and approachable especially if they feel comfortable in a safe environment.
9. Be sensitive to their moods – Be observant every time your child is playing with other children. Take note of their mood swings and be aware of their temperament. If your child becomes agitated after just a few minutes then it’s best to limit their activity. This way, you can calculate and set an appropriate play time for them.
10. Select friends with a positive influence – Get to know your child’s classmates and encourage them to cultivate relationships with certain students. Keeping your child close to children with good moral standards will influence them positively.