8 Ways to Improve Your Child's Social Skills
It is disheartening for any parent when they discover that their children have trouble making friends. Some children can’t be active in specific social situations. However, this does not mean that you should give up on your child. On the contrary, there are so many things that you can do to improve your child’s social skills.
Understand Your Child's Interests
Your child is going to appreciate the company of other children if they have something in common. As a result, you should understand what your child wants to do. For example, your child may be interested in playing basketball, swimming, or singing. This is what you will use to introduce them to the social environment.
Once you have understood your child’s interests, you will introduce him or her to children with similar interests. Although the aim of socializing is to learn new things, it is not bad to start with familiar interests. The child will explore other interests in due course.
Teach Them the Importance of Asking Questions
It is common for children to become nervous in the middle of a conversation. Unfortunately, this does not improve their social skills but makes them more introverted in future conversations. Thankfully, you can teach your children several techniques that they can use to overcome their nervousness.
One of them is to ask questions to keep the conversation going. Asking questions will show interest, and it will give your child time to gather their confidence. For example, your children can ask about the benefits that water softeners have to offer in every kind of situation.
Getting into character is a great way to explore specific social skills. You can ask your child to pretend to be a specific person, especially someone they are afraid of. This introduces a sense of power that will make your children more confident. It will also show your children that that person is not dangerous.
After your child has played a particular role, you can switch places. This time, you will play the person that the child is usually afraid of. Instead of using words only, you can introduce other things such as body language and eye-contact.
Children who have a great understanding of people’s feelings are likely to perform well in social situations. That is because they can easily empathize and create practical bonds. But how do you cultivate empathy in your children? The best way is to introduce stories about different scenarios. Please explain how the victims in that story felt when something terrible happened to them. This introduces the idea of emotions, love, and care for other people.
Identify How Far Your Child Can Go
Children, even siblings, have different levels of social interaction. If you have an introverted and shy child, you cannot expect them to act like an extrovert. Your child may be at ease in social settings while somebody else’s child may be at ease in isolation.
The key is to know how far your child can go when they are in a social setting. It’s good to avoid crossing that limit because you will be placing undue pressure on your child. Similarly, younger children may have problems socializing.
Be a Good Example
Children learn by watching what adults do. If you are the only adult near the child, you should display exemplary behavior. For example, you should be a good listener all the time. This involves asking and answering questions from a child whenever they ask them. Similarly, it would be best if you were mindful of other people’s feelings. This display of a role model will create specific attributes in your child that they can use to thrive in social circles.
Perhaps you already know that one of the most important social skills is to maintain eye contact. You should teach your children how they should look into people’s eyes during a conversation. To start with, ask your child to look into your eyes when they are talking to you. Practice this a couple of times each day to make it a habit.
Introduce Them to Higher Social Skills
It’s never too early to teach your children higher social skills. Skills such as conflict resolution, negotiation, and public speaking will come in handy when your child grows up. You will be surprised to learn that some children can address audiences of thousands of people.
While you are trying to be a good role model, you should remember that it will take a lot of time for your child to absorb the skills. Some children naturally acquire the skills from birth, while others will take a long time. Consequently, it would help if you exercised patience every time.