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Our children are our lives. We do everything we can to help them grow into healthy and happy individuals. One of those ways we try to help is by encouraging and developing their social skills. However, it can sometimes get overwhelming trying to figure out the best ways to improve children’s social skills. If you’ve hit a standstill on ways to do this, take a look below! You’ll find some of our favorite ways, from keeping yourself educated on the different stages of play to broadening their emotional intelligence.
Play is one of the best ways to help develop children’s social skills, and although the kids aren’t at school, that doesn’t mean they can still develop said skills. In fact, the way they play with you and the way they play on their own can deepen the scope of their skills. Take, for example, babies and toddlers—unoccupied play is the first stage of play and they start this even at their young age. Independent play is the one that comes next, but it’s something every child can work on—if your child is not comfortable playing alone, this is the time to help them find that confidence.
How does playing alone factor into improving social skills? Well, if they don’t feel comfortable playing by themselves, how are they going to feel comfortable and confident playing with others?
During this odd time, you can also work on improving your children’s emotional intelligence (and probably work on your own in tandem)—emotional intelligence is one of the best ways to improve children’s social skills. Think minutely about empathy, which is just a small outcome of an emotionally intelligent individual. If your child is empathetic, they’re more likely to share with others in need, to help their friends who are crying or frustrated, and better express their feelings to their peers and their elders. If you can work on this, then your child’s social skills will benefit.
Start with exercises that focus on the general understanding of different emotions. Use facial cards and have your child guess what that card is “emoting.” From there, you can ask them to use cards to explain their emotions and your own, so they can best learn how to handle them. Roleplaying is also an excellent way to see if they know how to handle different emotional situations.
Most importantly, try to key in on the interests of your children. They’re much more likely to socialize and gain comfort in social situations if they’re participating in or talking about things that interest them. They may not be able to join that soccer club right now, but you can help them feel more comfortable about talking about the sport. Better yet, the things you learn about their interests now will help you know what activities and sports they’ll like to partake in later on.
It may seem hard to figure out the best ways to work on social skills with your kids when they can’t go out and practice them with people other than family. But now is actually the perfect time to lay out some groundwork and help them feel more confident once they can actually see their friends and classmates again!