Developing social skills is a crucial part of growing up. If your child finds social interactions intimidating and challenging, they will struggle to form strong relationships and thrive in various aspects of their life. With this in mind, it’s important for parents to help their children build strong social skills, using the following tips from a junior school in the Cotswolds.
Begin by teaching your child how to start a conversation with someone, as this is often the trickiest part of a social interaction. Explain to them that it’s always important to be positive and friendly when chatting to people, by asking questions and complimenting the other person. Listening is also just as important as talking when having a conversation, so your child will need to know that it’s rude to interrupt. They will also need to understand body language, as people often express how they’re feeling without actually speaking. Perhaps you could use cue cards to show your child different facial expressions and body language and what they mean, so that they can be more prepared in a real-life situation.
However, there’s little point in teaching your child how to start conversations or recognise body language if they don’t have many opportunities to put these skills into action. With that said, try and encourage your child to interact with other people on a regular basis, both adults and children. When your child is little, you could join a Mother and Toddler group to encourage social interactions. You should also try and arrange regular playdates with other kids, where you should encourage your child to take turns, share their toys and generally be a welcoming host.
You could even suggest to your child that they join an extra-curricular activity, like a sports team or a drama club. This will allow them to meet lots of other children who share their interests, allowing them to feel more confident with social situations. Your child’s school will probably have plenty of clubs and activities on offer that they can join, or you might prefer for them to join one in the local town where they can meet a new set of people that they don’t already know from school.
If you’re concerned about your child’s social development, don’t be afraid to contact their teachers for some additional support. They might be able to find ways to encourage your child to break out of their shell or engage in group work. After all, it is in the teacher’s best interest to help your child succeed.
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