5 Key Social Skills for Kids and How to Encourage Their Development

Every parent pays special attention to how their kids grow and develop, noting every important milestone and making sure that everything is happening when it’s supposed to. The timeline of physical and cognitive development of every child varies, and it depends on a myriad of factors. However, parents also need to pay attention to how their kids evolve socially and emotionally.

As future members of society expected to follow certain norms and to recognize certain patterns, kids acquire those skills very early on, and in different situations. They observe and mimic their parents both in body language and word choices when addressing their peers, friends, and relatives. Kids are also famous for learning from one another, even when they’re still not entirely capable of discerning acceptable from unacceptable behaviors.

Certain social skills are exceptionally important for your kids, and the sooner you enable them to develop those skills, the easier it will be for them to grow as individuals. Let’s delve deeper into those skills and see how you can encourage your kids to slowly develop them.

Recognizing boundaries with others

Recognizing boundaries with others

Introverted kids often find it hard to get out of their comfort zone and communicate. But extroverted kids eager to ask questions and to be physically close with others find themselves in opposite conundrums – they might cross someone’s boundaries.

First of all, you need to set an example of how you respect other people’s desires and preferences in communication. For instance, you can ask the child “is it okay if I hug you?” when you feel like sharing a hug. Talk about poor examples when it’s clear that someone didn’t respect someone’s lack of permission. Above all, let your child know that it’s alright to say no!

Walking a mile in other people’s shoes

Did you know that kids in Denmark learn about empathy in school? This smart, and well thought-through approach helps children understand the importance of the other perspective. Shy kids are encouraged to play and spend time with confident kids, while those good at certain subjects are empowered to help their peers who are having trouble learning something new.

This supportive method of exchanging social and emotional experiences so early sets the stage for less bullying in schools and builds a much healthier community of kids and parents alike.

Sharing and communicating with peers

Sharing and communicating with peers

The pandemic has pushed forth the importance of social interactions and peer play among kids, since so many countries, Australia included, have been under strict lockdowns for months on end. As the lockdown rules are expected to subside, advanced programs for childcare in Sydney will help kids reintegrate with their peers and learn the most fundamental social skills properly.

Peer play and regular interactions in childcare facilities help kids learn how to share toys, friends, time, and not to be overly possessive or jealous. They also learn how to communicate with their peers, adopting their body language patterns as well as recognizing basic verbal cues. These interactive environments are precisely where kids also learn other invaluable social skills.

Listening and following directions

Listening isn’t just a section so common in language tests, but a crucial life skill that will help your kids form stronger, healthier bonds with their friends and relatives. Listening is the basis for empathy, and it turns an ordinary monologue into a way for kids to learn the basis of two-way communication.

Storytelling is a great learning opportunity – start telling a story and stop occasionally, to ask your kids what they remember so far and what they feel is important in the story. You can do the same in any ordinary conversation when it matters to you for them to commit and to help them improve their focus. As the extension of this skill, start practicing following directions. It’s fairly simple to learn that through games, but it’s important that kids take you seriously and respect your directions at home.

Expressing and regulating feelings

Expressing and regulating feelings

You’re likely familiar with those not-so-wonderful tantrum scenes in the supermarket and other emotional outbursts so common among toddlers. While in every culture, parents deal with these situations differently, it’s crucial to help your kids learn how to express their emotions in healthy ways and how to control those outbursts. For instance, this US-based dad has a distinct way to turn crying tantrums into a game.

Try implementing activities that will help soothe an upset child, such as counting and breathing deeply. Look for games and toys that depict different emotions to help your kids distinguish between them and understand them better.

Although the spectrum of social skills is much more diverse, the listed ones are considered crucial for your child’s overall mental development. Add to that, these represent the foundation for additional, more complex social skills and interactions. Make sure that your child is around peers and grownups who are good role models, so that they can slowly adopt these behaviors and understand them properly as they grow up. In doing so, you’ll help them grow up into healthy, socially adept adults.

Karen is a freelance writer/blogger who helped launch this website so consumers like you could find honest and trustworthy product reviews. She enjoys researching these buying guides, but also loves writing about different topics such as health and nutrition.

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