Are you worried about your child’s social skills? Are you concerned that they’re falling behind or failing to connect with their classmates? Unfortunately, most social skills must be learnt in action– they can’t be taught the way we teach mathematic or reading comprehension skills. There are steps you can take to improve your child’s social skills, however. Here are some tips for bettering your child’s social interactions.
Talk with your child about basic social expectations. It goes beyond teaching “please” and “thank you.” Talk with them about empathy and when to put others’ needs before their own. Before a gift-giving event like a birthday party or holiday gathering, teach them to thank their gift-givers– even if they already own the item or they didn’t really want another itchy sweater.
Enroll them in sports. Sports are great for teaching your children how to function as a team instead of an individual entity. It’s a fun way to get them to literally “play with others.” Sports also help show how every team member is essential to the entire team’s functioning.
After a social gaffe, talk with your child about what went wrong. Ask them what they should have done instead of pulling Sally’s hair or telling James his lunchbox was ugly. Getting your child to think about alternate options could prevent a future conflict.
Consider alternative routes if your child is seriously struggling. If your child has a severe social disorder, consider talking with a specialist about enrolling your child in online courses instead of proceeding in a traditional education environment.