How To Improve Your Child’s Social Skills
If your child struggles to make friends, or if you have noticed that your child often has a difficult time in social situations, you already know how frustrating it can be to watch them go through this. The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to help improve your child’s social skills.
1. Follow Your Child’s Interests
Your child’s interests are the first step towards building her social skills. She will enjoy being with other children who are interested in the same things as she is. This will make her feel at ease around them, giving her an easier time when it comes to making friends.
2. Ask Questions
Children often struggle when they find themselves in situations where conversations lag. This makes them nervous, and they may become introverted because of it. A great way to carry on positive conversations with others is by asking questions. Help your child learn how to be curious about others. Show them how to ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.
3. Practice Role-Playing
Role-playing is a great way for kids to practice their social skills. You can help your child by having her pretend to be the person she has difficulty talking to or getting along with. You’ll get to see what the other person is like. Then switch roles and pretend to be the other person. This will show you how your child is when interacting with the other person. You can then suggest ways that your child can use to effectively interact with that person.
4. Teach your Child Empathy
Empathy will help your child understand how the other person feels. This will make her more likely to connect with other people and form positive bonds. You can teach your child empathy by talking and playing out different scenarios, asking how she might feel if one thing or the other happened.
5. Know your Child’s Limits
Some children are simply more naturally social than others. If your child is simply shy and introverted, there is no point in forcing her to interact with others at the same level as a child who is naturally extroverted. Some children prefer smaller settings to bigger ones. Your child may also only feel comfortable interacting with others for an hour or two before craving her own space once more. Whatever your child’s limits are, know them and try not to cross them.
6. Become your Child’s Role Model
How you interact with others when your child is watching has a major effect on how your child interacts with other children. If you ask questions of others and listen to their replies, your child will learn to do the same. Show genuine empathy and your child will learn from you. Your child is constantly watching you, so put some conscious effort and forethought into your interactions with others.
As you try to improve your child’s social skills, it is important to remember that like all things, patience is key in helping her learn. It’s going to take some time for her social skills to get to the level that you envision for her. At the end of the day, social skills are life skills that need to be developed and improved on over the course of a lifetime. Do not expect it to happen overnight for your child.