Every parent wants their child to grow up being loved! Not only by them, but by a wider circle of people. All parents want to feel they have brought something beautiful and like-able into the world!
Of course, it is not always simple to achieve this. In fact, I have had many parents ask me about how to improve their child’s social skills, or have at least shown great concern about whether their child’s social interaction is normal.
This is understandable, as being successful socializing is a crucial building block of any persons life. If you can’t get on with those around you, how can you expect to build a successful career as an adult, for example.
The aim of this article is to calm the nerves of parents who may have noticed that their child is struggling socially. The simple techniques and tips outlines here should help the development of your child’s social skills.
As with most things that you are looking to improve in a child, the results usually come faster and easier the younger you start. As a child gets older, habits are already starting to form. These are harder to break out of, thus requiring more time and patience.
Be a talker!
Bringing a child up in a rich language based environment will help them feel more comfortable when communicating. They will have more confidence to express ideas and talk to others, something that will help them in later life!
Observe and be open minded!
As they say, the first step to getting help is to recognise that there is a problem. If you see issues, don’t bury your head in the sand, as they will probably get worse. Pay keen attention to how your child is around others.
Does your child come across as shy? Do they stay on the fringes of groups, waiting for others to make the first move? Does your child seem to “freeze” and not act naturally when approached by other children? Gathering observations of your child around other children will prove valuable in working out if there are any problems.
The magic of play dates.
If you want your child to be comfortable and confident socially, they will need to practice. The more they are around other children, the more likely they are to improve socially. You will be amazed how much your child will progress after every successful play date! If you notice your child gravitating towards any particular children at school, for example, you can discuss with them whether they want to “have them over to play.”
Often, your child will jump at the chance. If not, you can politely ask your child why. Maybe they have concerns that you can easily solve or lessen.
Build up these play dates slowly. Don’t aim for an epic five hour play adventure right from the start! Make it a short and fun experience to begin with and slowly build up the time as you do more. You don’t want o ruin the whole thing by messing up the first one!
Think those first play dates through.
The success of these first play dates also depends on how well organized they are. Make sure to ask your child what they would like to do on the play date. Then, you can make sure you have all the resources on hand. As well as thinking of any unforeseen circumstances that could get in the way of the fun.
Don’t take over! I know I said it needs to be organized, but don’t take over with all of your own ideas. If your child can’t come up with any ideas for the play date, just leave it at that!
Modeling being a good friend! This simple act of preparing for a play date with your child is showing them what being a good friend is all about. That you are thinking of others and what would be fun for them too!
Is your house fun for kids?
Making sure your house is a fun place for kids to “hang out” could go a long way to helping your child’s social life. If they have fun, they are sure to want to do it again! Think about what activities and play areas you have or can develop in your home. Do you have board games, special toys or children’s DVDs to share?
Ask your child to help with the preparations.
As we talked about previously, if you want your child to grow up to be a good friend, we need to model what this is! Before the play date arrives, ask your child to help tidy up the house and prepare the snacks (for example).
Don’t be the embarrassing parent!
Don’t get in the way of the children’s play during the play date. It is tempting for an adult to want to take over, but this is not how you help your child socialize for themselves. Let the natural play occur between the kids, try not to interrupt too much. Only do so if you can see it is really needed.
Praise your child.
Anytime your child responds well in social situations, be sure to praise them. If you see them sharing well, praise for this when you get home. These positive vibes will encourage your child to continue and repeat this behaviour.
Well, there you have it. Some simple tips to build your child’s social confidence! The whole experience of should be fun and rewarding. And, in the process, you will be bringing up a child that knows how to successfully interact with others.
If you have any of your own tips on boosting a child’s social skills, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below.