Knowing how to develop social skills as a child can be a frightening task, it’s difficult to know where to start especially if they lack confidence or feel uncomfortable in social situations.
Developing social skills will be an essential part to their happiness and success in school and in their adult life so it is important to know how to develop social skills as a child.
Developing their social skills will help your child with:
- Making friends easily
- Starting conversations
- Feeling confident in social situations
- Interacting with others
- Feeling comfortable in the classroom and other environments
- Listening to others
- Getting on with people
- Being responsible for their own behaviour
- Giving compliments
- Talking effectively
How to develop social skills as a child
Show them how to have a conversation
How to enter a conversation, for example “Hi, how are you?” Also teaching the non-verbal cues, e.g. waving. Explain that conversations are about taking turns and involves speaking and listening. Encourage them to listen to what the other person is saying and respond to that rather than replying by talking about yourself.
Encourage them to communicate
At every opportunity encourage your child to communicate. With you, with family, friends, at school and in other environments. For example in a shop or cafe you could challenge your child to go to the counter and pay for items. Teach them manners and how to communicate effectively with others both with speaking and listening.
Promote eye contact
When talking to others encourage them to maintain good eye contact with the other person but without directly staring at them. Appropriate eye contact is looking at them in the eye with occasional breaks to other areas of their face. This may take time for them to get used to, particularly if they are shy as maintaining eye contact can be uncomfortable for some children and even adults.
When talking to others they will have to understand when and how to show empathy in an appropriate way. You can teach them this in many ways, one being when watching TV ask them how the character is feeling and why. Then encourage them to imagine themselves in a similar situation and think about how they would feel.
Be a good role model
Show them how to have good social skills. Whenever they are with you they are watching you and learning from you so set a good example and be a good role model for them to copy. When you communicate with others show these skills yourself and your child will naturally learn to do the same.
We’d love to hear how you got on and how it helped your child with developing their social skills so please leave a comment and let us know.