Would you love it if your child was loved by everybody and welcomed everywhere?
Of course, you would. That is every parent’s dream.
Academic and extracurricular achievements feel good, but the joy of being loved is unmatched.
All of us want it for our children.
And that is why, one of the commonest questions I am asked at my parenting workshops is – “How can I help my child to be social?”
The answer is – by building social skills.
Yes. Fortunately, being social is a skill and can be built.
The earlier in life we start building this skill – the easier it is for children to be social.
What are social skills?
Social skills are skills that help children to get along with others.
10 ways to build your child’s social skills –
- Help them to overcome stranger anxiety
Take your child to places like the grocery store and the park frequently. When they see you interacting with strangers frequently in their presence, it will reduce their stranger anxiety.
- Build their confidence
Children feel confident when they can care for themselves. As soon as your child starts solids, encourage them to self-feed. Gradually teach them how to put on their shoes, clothes etc.
- Build their language skills
Your child must be able to understand others and speak with them. Build both these skills by having conversations with them.
- Do not be over-protective
If you are overprotective, it convinces your child that they cannot manage alone. This makes them hesitate to move away from you and comes in the way of building social skills.
- Play turn-taking games
Turn taking games help your child to build impulse control and focus. Both are important when interacting with others.
- Read stories to your child
Stories build empathy. Stories will help your child to understand how two people feel different emotions in the same situation. This is an important building block when constructing social skills.
- Pretend with your child
Join your child in pretending to play ‘doctor-doctor’, ‘bus-bus’, ‘school -school’ and so on. Share with them when the character you are playing feels happy, sad, angry, and so on.
- Sing songs about emotions
Sing action songs like – “When you are happy, and you know it…….” to help your child learn how to name emotions.
Take your child along when you step out to meet your friends. Also invite your friends over. Children require lots of opportunities to practice their social skills.
- Minimize tantrums by sticking to routines
If you hesitate to take your child to parties and events because you are worried about their tantrums, this could become a roadblock to building their social skills. Minimize tantrums by sticking to a routine.
Social skills are not just a path to people’s hearts, it is also a way to build the brain.
Children who get along with others will learn from their peers and adults effortlessly. And that will make them rapid learners.
Are you doing these 10 things to make your child social?
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a doctor, a parenting consultant, and the founder of WPA whatparentsask.com She conducts online and offline workshops on parenting for schools and corporate organisations. She also conducts online and offline prenatal and infant care classes. She is a well-known thought-leader in parenting and an expert on play, learning and eating habits. She is the author of 7 books on parenting published by Juggernaut Books and her books are among their most read books. She is frequently quoted in national and international publications of repute for her empathetic and compassionate approach and her application of physiology and neuroscience to parenting.