Developing social skills in children is as equally important as developing physical skills. Unfortunately, unlike physical skills, social skills are not as easy to identify. While physical growth is visible, social development requires close observation and monitoring. It’s important to remember that every child develops social skills at a different rate. Whether you’re a new or experienced parent, helping your child cultivate these skills may present new challenges. Here are some techniques that can help you enhance your child’s social skills.
How can I help?
A common misconception parents have about the development of social skills is that daycare and play-dates are the best way for a child to become more social. Although interactions with peers are important, they do not trump interaction with parents. Parents play a circuital role in the development of a child’s social skills. So what can you do?
Be positive. There is no manual that shows you how to teach how to develop social skills in your child. The process of development requires attempts of trial and error and it is natural for parents to feel frustrated or overwhelmed when they don’t see results immediately. Kids are natural copycats. They learn by imitation. They pick up on emotions and gestures and will get discouraged if it appears that you are. Remind yourself that this process, like the many other skills you will teach your child, demands time and patience.
- Don’t take it personally
- Exhibit a solution oriented attitude
- Provide an intimate loving atmosphere
- Avoid bad social influence
Ask questions. It’s important to see what social skills your child has already developed. As a parent you don’t want to waste time covering information they already understand. At 3 or 4 years old, your child should know basic information about themselves and others. Here are some simple questions you can ask to gauge what your child knows about their social environment.
- What’s your name?
- What’s your age?
- What’s your gender?
- Who am I, mommy or daddy?
Play together. After you have assessed what social skills your child already possesses, you can focus on what you need to enhance. Games can be a great vehicle for teaching your child about social skills. Playing games with your child can be enjoyable for both you and your child.
- Playing games encourages your child to share, take turns, or cooperate.
- Playing games encourages your child to ask for your help.
- Playing games helps your child build decision making and negotiation skills.
- Playing games creates a great environment to practice giving and receiving compliments
Your child isn’t going to master this skill on the first try. If you find that your child is having difficulty, contact a Winter Springs pediatrician to help you determine what the problem is. The Winter Springs Pediatrician team at Family First Pediatrics puts your child’s health and well-being as our main priority. Feel free to give us a call at (407) 335-4760 or schedule an appointment online to meet with Dr. Selsky.