As a parent, you’ll notice both outgoing and shy children almost every day. Your own children may have a diverse range of personality traits that can either inhibit or foster social and emotional connection. Every child has differences in their abilities to start conversations, make friends, deal with uncomfortably situations, and all the other aspects that come along with socializing. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to make friends or fit into different social settings, we listed a few ways to improve your child’s social skills.
Pay Attention to Their Interests
If you really want your child to thrive in social settings, then you need to put them in situations they enjoy. If your son or daughter loves to read comic books and science fiction, for example, put him or her in a setting with others who enjoy this. Delighting in another’s company comes more naturally when a child participates in something they truly have an interest in.
Teach Them About Emotions
Your child will never fully develop solid skills if he or she doesn’t understand emotions and empathy. If children have a better understanding of how others feel, then they can make stronger connections with others and form positive relationships. You can help them become more empathetic by first teaching them about emotions. You can play a game “identify the emotion” and hold up little cards of different emotional smiley faces. This will help them differentiate emotions, express their own better, and understand how others may feel.
If you have a curious child, continue to foster that! Don’t shut your children down if they have questions. Questioning is one of the main ways children develop social skills. Questions also help them find out about others and form solid relationships. Encourage your child to ask you questions, and then that should help them learn to ask others.
Head to the Park
One of the best ways to improve your child’s social skills is by providing safe opportunities for them to meet and talk with others. The playground or park is an excellent place to do just that. In general, playgrounds can help develop social skills, but when you pair that with the steps you’ve taken, your child will surly find success. The playground is also the perfect sport if you don’t have the ability to put your child in different classes and clubs.
Know Your Child’s Limits
Although you want your child to have plenty of opportunities to hone their social skills, you don’t want to overwhelm him or her. Some children are simply more social than others, and overloading your child with social events and play dates can make them shut down. Pay attention to the different environments you put your child in, and try to match them with your child.