One of the essential skills that children should learn is the art of socializing. Developing social skills at an early age can help children improve their communication skills, form positive relationships and develop healthier body language without falling prey to awkwardness or discomfort. It can also help enhance their mental capacity and cognitive abilities, improving their overall mental health.

How to Build A Child’s Social Skills at Home

  1. Understanding Emotions: Little kids may be experiencing a range of diverse emotions that they can't express. This indicates the need for attention to their actions or non-verbal cues. Parents should check on their kids regularly, asking them questions to gauge their moods. A simple Q&A can pave the way for more open discussions in the future. Letting your child watch their favorite show or movie can also help them recognize their emotions when interpreted by a character.
  1. Taking Turns: Self-control is an important lesson that kids must learn. Encourage patience, empathy, and good manners by following rules and taking turns. If your child is new to this concept, ask them to practice the same at home. Let your little one know that it is Mommy’s or Dad’s turn to choose the bedtime story or a game for a game night. This will teach them to wait for their turn, especially when playing in a group.
  1. Character Play: Character play is one of the most interesting ways of improving social skills. Grab a bunch of toys your kids are fond of, like Barbie dolls, action figures, or stuffed animals. Now, have your kid pretend to talk to the toy. If you have a toy kitchen, your kid can pretend to bake a cake or have a birthday party. Ask questions like what should they say to a friend on their birthday and see how they respond. You can use this activity as a medium to teach your kids essential social skills.
  1. Eye Contact: Eye contact plays an important role in socializing. When talking to your child, get on their level and maintain eye contact. This will ensure that you have their full attention. Plus, they'll realize that making direct eye contact is the key to effective communication. But remember, your children are always watching you, so make eye contact with everyone you speak to. Kids will feel more confident when they see you practice what you preach.
  1. Relationship Building through Virtual Play Dates: Virtual is the new reality in this pandemic. Set up a short FaceTime or zoom playdate and let your children interact with their friends. Be a silent but sincere listener, giving them your undivided attention. Also, gently remind your child to let others speak and not monopolize the conversation. With practice, they'll learn not to interrupt.
  1. Engaging in Teamwork Activities: Communication and collaboration are key factors to improve social skills. Let your child engage in several teamwork activities so that they can interact and play with others. Participating in teamwork activities will help develop skills like problem-solving, sharing, empathy, resolving conflicts, etc. These activities can also help grow leadership qualities along with a sense of responsibility. 
  1. Support Self-Help and Personal Responsibility: Your child needs to take responsibility for his/her action. Teach them to put away their toys after playing. Tell them to put dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Ask them to set the dinner table or clean their room. Developing basic social skills at home can also make them responsible students at school.
  1. Narrating Stories: Kids are fascinated with stories, which you can use to your advantage. Create a stack of flashcards with story topics that you would like to educate or discuss with your child. This activity helps develop the skills of listening, patience, taking turns, following directions, ignoring distractions, showing empathy, and cooperation.

Pick a card, set a timer, and let your child narrate his/her story. Once done, summaries the story for them and ask for clarifications. This will help them stay on track with the said topic. At times, some children may have trouble focusing on the topic or give away too many unnecessary details. This will help you determine the areas where the child needs to improve.

  1. Teach them How to Ask for Help: There are several instances where children get stuck but do not know how to ask for help due to lack of social skills. Hence, to improve your child’s social skills, teach them how to ask for help when in need concerning social situations so that they are not hesitant or embarrassed. This will increase their social interaction and boost confidence. Check out our blog to discover some more tips on how to boost your child’s confidence. 

Conclusion

How children develop socially, interact with others, and form relationships affect many aspects of their lives. We have mentioned some ways that can help build social skills in kids. Make the most of these tips, and you’d see a gradual improvement in the way your child behaves socially.

Written by Ammar Lakdawala