Advice for Parents: Teaching Social Skills To Children
photo credit: katclay
How to Teach Social Skills to Your Child ?
Many parents struggle with this topic as they feel that social skills is something that the child may be too young to learn and will not comprehend. In fact, social skills teachings begin as early as you can do not wait when until your child is misbehaving and showing “terrible twos” toddler behavior.
Tactics in Helping Your Child Socialize Better
What methods can help promote social skills for your child? There are four major ingredients that parents need to focus for social skills training.
1. Communication and Language
The skills targeted in this section include; take initiative to connect, imitate, react favorable to another, converse in pair, suggest and explain ideas that involve common games, ask questions and respond to request.
In order to promote communication and language aptitudes, you will need to consider talking to your child as earlier as possible in fact from birth. Talking a lot throughout the day and responding to his babbling by simply saying, “Oh- really,”or “Yes, of course!” This encourages and stimulates conversation and social skills just like reading to your child out loud and playing pretend. Teach your child how to formulate his request and interact in a game by asking, “You want to play this game, too?” or “What can you do to play with your friends?” asking them is a good way to get the conversation started.
2. Cooperation during Game Playing.
The skills aimed in this part involve teaching and understanding how to wait your turn, sharing toys, playing pretend, reacting positively with pairs, talking taking turns and adapting to point of view of the other.
To help your child you can explain how to ask for a toy, to lend then to return it. You can use mealtimes to set and show an example to your child. “ Can you give me a slice of bread, please?” Congratulate and praise your child when he articulates his request to ask for a toy, clothes or food.
Encouraging activities that involve teamwork or a collective purpose by asking to water the plants or put away a piece of clothing in the drawer of a family member. Children learn to disengage from themselves and this brings them to become less egocentric. Parents need to participate and provide support at times while he plays games that require cooperation with friends. For example, you can play tag for several minutes with your child and his friends. This will motivate him to continue playing with his friends on his own.
3. Master Emotions and Self-Control.
This area deals with understanding your own emotions and those of others; regulating your child’s emotion while he becomes excited or upset, controlling his feelings and confronting daily frustrations, expressing what he wants, naming the emotions he is experiencing are necessary in this process.
Allow your child to tame his emotions, positive as well as negative ones and teaching your child to express them with words. For instance, “You’re upset. You didn’t like it when your friend took your toy. You can tell him.”
In practice, we easily praise positive behavior but when your child feels negative emotions parents should also support them. “I understand that you’re upset. Now, what can you do to confront this anger?” In doing this, your child will be more susceptible to help others resolve their conflicts in a similar situation.
Prepare your child in terms of what another child may be feeling; his emotions and his interests by helping him decode his reactions and responses. The capability of putting themselves in their place of another begins around age 3. Before this age, you can explain a situation; begin to put in place certain social skills. When you r child is ready around 3 years of age he will be able to apply what he has been taught.
Teach your child how to be patient by saying for example, “Mommy wants to check my emails for a few minutes, then I will take care of you.” They will start to learn little by little that adults and his friends too, cannot always be at their beckon call and that they also need time for themselves.
4. Problem Resolution
This step involves managing conflicts with words, proposing solutions and making compromises. How can this be accomplished?
Help your child control his aggressive emotions when confronting a problem. When your child is angry, you can start explaining to your child what he is experiencing. The first thing is to teach him to stop, take a breathe and then try to find a solution with the help of an adult, if he is too young.
Step by step, help your child to develop his autonomy by teaching him a few strategies like taking turns each. If your child naturally does this, praise him by saying, “Way to go! Good job! You were upset but you chose another toy in the meantime.”
The idea is to put the positive intentions on his words and his actions and to decipher his message.
Around 3-4 years helping to resolve problems that arise when playing games is a great way to initiate in describing the problems. Provide your child with ample time to find a solution on his own. Taking into consideration his experiences provide your child with examples of solutions by stating, “What could you have done differently?” When a conflict arises children usually apply the same solution. This could be hitting, going to see the teacher, etc.. The goal is to help your child diversify his strategies and to choose the best ones.
One thing to consider as long as there is no eminent danger; it is better to wait before intervening. Parents usually intervene too rapidly. If the situation does not improve on its own, it’s best to resist the urge to resolve the problem yourself and act upon being a mediator instead. You can for instance invite the kids to say what they feel and explain what they want in order to arrive at a compromise. The idea is to allow them to reflect at “ How to do” and not to tell them, “What to do.”
There is no secret or perfect recipe every child reacts differently to a sitation especially in blended families where there are two mommies and daddies. However by implementing these four tactics your child’s social skills will improve with time and of course patience, encouragement and support are golden.
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Filed under: Advice for Parents
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