How Do I Help My Child Develop Social Skills?
Learn how to encourage your child’s social skills development. Helping you understand what they are and what you can do to support your child
Let’s face it, we all want our children to be hitting those developmental milestones. We want to be sure they are doing as well as they possibly can and that we are doing everything to help them get there. So what can you do to encourage your child to reach those developmental milestones for social skills? This article will hopefully set your mind at ease about how to do this successfully. This blog post is the first in a series of four about child development of key life skills.
The Complex World Of Social Interactions
Now, I want to start by thinking about how many different things happen in a social interaction between adults. Cast your mind to the last conversation you had with your partner, or friend, someone close to you. How did you know they were interested in what you were saying? Could you tell what their emotions were from the conversation? Did you say something to them that you wouldn’t have said to someone else? Obviously, there are some things you wouldn’t dare tell your mother for example but can tell your best friend.
The aim of that exercise was to make you think about how many different aspects to social skills there are and it’s an awful lot for children to learn. Social skills cover everything from basic manners, to not turning your back on someone and walking away whilst they are speaking. So, how do you teach your little darlings that it’s not okay to talk about what mummy looks like naked at the top of their voice whilst you’re out on a shopping trip to Tesco, for example? Below are some tips and tricks about how best to combat these, potentially awkward, moments.
Start With Your Expectations If You Want To Help Develop Your Child’s Social Skills
Firstly, be realistic in your expectations. A one year old will not play co-operative games with two other children, but you would expect them to give you eye contact or laugh in response to play. Check out these links for a quick peek at what you should be expecting and with regards to social skills: Social Skills Check List and What To Expect When. Understanding developmental milestones might help reduce frustration for both you and your child. They will also be a guiding light in case you are worried your child is falling behind.
Activity Ideas To Help Your Child Develop Their Social Skills
Sometimes all we as parents need is some practical ideas on what to do with your child at different ages. So here are some activity ideas to spark your imagination.
Birth to 11 Months:
8 to 20 Months:
16 – 26 Months:
30 – 50 Months:
Be A Role Model To Help Your Child Develop Social Skills
Finally, allow your child to ask questions, even if they get a little much after a while. Take them out into the big wide world as much as possible. These experiences are going to teach them about real life interactions. The last, and possibly most important thing you can do, is to model the behaviour you want them to see. Your child isn’t going to grow up to be polite and kind if you don’t show them how to be. Social skills are complex and will take years to master, but you’re probably doing a lot of this stuff anyway. Stay tuned for the next in the series – “How Do I Encourage My Child’s Emotional Development?“.