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How to Develop Social Skills in Children?

How to Develop Social Skills in Children? Tips from the champions academy

When a child is in their mother’s womb, they don’t exactly learn social skills. They are born in a society with an ongoing set of norms, culture, values, etc. Do they develop social skills in the womb? The answer is NO. Does a child learn to respect others the moment they enter the world? Once again, the answer is NO.

Developing social skills in children requires patience, time, and following a step-by-step method. Bolstering social skills is possible through activities, sports, and a range of things.

Since you’re here, allow us to share how one can develop social skills in children.

Keep reading to find out!

1. Explaining Personal Space to Children

The first thing you have to do is explain personal space to children. Young children don’t know good touch or a bad touch. They need to learn that strangers could be either good or bad, but one needs to maintain distance. Here are the things you can do:

  • Explain the importance of body parts and what others should not be touching except the mother.
  • Tell them that hugging and kissing are alright but only within the family. Hugging and kissing a stranger is not right, and the child should say ‘NO’ or call out a family member if a stranger tries to get too close.
  • Tell your kids how to read body language. Teach them what crossing arms or tensing up means.
  • Let them know that picking them up without their permission is not right. You must tell them that their permission is needed before hugging, kissing, or touching them.
  • Teach your child to seek permission before sitting on someone’s lap or hugging them.

2. The Concept of Empathy

Empathy is when you can feel what the other might be going through. A young child does not know what others go through because their perspective is limited. It is important for you to tell the child to use their imagination.

When you are watching a show or some movie, pause it and ask your child about how they feel about the character. Encourage the child to keep themselves in another character’s shoes and what they would have done.

It might seem to you that it’s too early, but this is the right time to start. Children have a vivid imagination and they should learn how to use it.

3. Helping Kids Understand How to Have a Proper Conversation

Conversation skills are also a part of social development. Young children don’t know how to converse with others and might ignore certain situations.

Talk about starting a conversation and how one should end it. The basics are:

Tell them the basic forms of greetings like, ‘’Hello! How are you today?’’.

You must also teach non-verbal cues such as nodding, waving, smiling, shaking hands, and so on.

Explain to your child that they must listen to others and never interrupt them. This may take a little bit of time to learn, but they will get there.

You should teach your child to never be aggressive while they are talking. Assertiveness is crucial when the child is speaking to others, so tell them not to use insults or threats. Your child should never threaten you to get something in return.

4. Expressing Needs and Wants

Crying should not be a way of asking for things from one’s parents. You must never give your child what they want just because they are throwing a fit or crying. When a child gets bullied at school, they might kick or cry when they want the bullies to stop bothering them.

Well, expressing needs and wants should not be accompanied with crying or throwing objects. Teach your child to spell out what they need. If there is a bully who is troubling them, the child can simply say to them, ‘’It hurts my feelings. I want you to stop NOW!’’

Certain things can be conveyed in a pleasant way without getting into a fight.

Also, you must teach your child not to cry or get angry if they want something. Never reward such behaviour because this will become a part of their personality sooner or later.

5. Don’t just PREACH – Be a Good Person Yourself

The best way to develop social skills in a child is to behave positively around them. This does not mean that you will behave negatively when your child is not around.

You must showcase positive behaviour at all times because children learn everything at home. When you are in a restaurant or a grocery shop, use polite behaviour and your speech should be mellow and polite too. If you are talking rudely to people, your child may think it’s okay to behave that way.

Whenever there is an argument with your spouse, you must never shout or use physical gestures in front of your child. Children think it’s okay to beat, abuse, or use hate speech. It would be wise to take the fight somewhere else and not let the child see negative behaviour.

6. Encouraging Eye Contact

Children should learn how to make eye contact. It’s very easy to be bullied and shoved at school, so teach the child that it’s okay to look eye-to-eye and not feel scared of anyone.

Play an eye-contact game wherein you have to look into each other’s eyes for at least 40 seconds. Hold a staring contest to make this possible!

Please note that some cultures find eye contact to be rude, so you must teach this too. Let them know that different cultures appreciate different things.

7. Supporting The Friends They Make

Host a playdate at home and let your child choose friends. Gone are those days when people used to make friends as per their social status. Let children pick their friends and deal with different situations. There will be fights, miscommunication, and other issues, but your child will learn and grow.

Concluding Thoughts

There are so many things one can do to develop social skills in a child. Let your child explore the world, but be beside them when they need you. Let your child join some extracurricular activities to make some new friends. You can’t keep them in a protective bubble, so let them have fun, and learn new lessons, but teach them basic manners and how they should react when different situations arise.

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