Social Skills and your Child
Some children make friends easily and some don’t. And it all comes down to whether they have social intelligence. The younger the child is when one starts developing this so-called social intelligence the better off your child will be when he goes to a pre-school or school. Nowadays, with most new moms having to work, it is important to try to instill the necessary social skills from an early age as it will make your little one’s life so much less complicated if he has to go to a crèche or play-school whilst you are earning the bucks!! Social skills can be learned and by learning them, children are able to form meaningful relationships with others. They can show empathy for others when the need arises and act appropriately and they will be able to adapt to any uncomfortable situation in which they find themselves.
I understand the definition of “social intelligence” to be when one has the ability to be able to adapt and behave appropriately in any given situation. Some children seem to be born with an innate ability to do this, but many others don’t know how they are meant to behave when they have to follow directions, hold a proper conversation with another, listen to others, give a compliment, or when someone is teasing or bullying them.
It can only be beneficial to help develop the following 7 social skills of your child so that he is capable of coping with the different situations in which he may land.
1: Teach your child to listen to others
This is best done by you, yourself, really listening when your child is telling you something!!! When you show your child that you listen to his story without interrupting, you are indirectly teaching him the skill of listening to others. Besides which, it is rude to interrupt someone, even if it is your 18 month old!!! A way of direct teaching would be to stop your child interrupting you when you are talking, either to him or to others.
2: Teach him to obey the rules
One of the things I used to hate as a child was whenever my father or mother told me to do something because “they said so” – it drove me nuts!
If you explain to your child why the rules exist, and why it is to his benefit to obey them, then this skill should become easy to master. Every time you lay down a rule at home, depending on the age of your child, explain why that rule is necessary. And it had better be for a good reason as otherwise they will be bound to question it as they get older!!! If your child goes to a crèche or playschool, as he gets to an age where he questions “why” he has to do something the caregiver told him, you may have to explain the reason yourself if the caregiver hasn’t already.
3: Completing a task
It is important that whatever task your little one is doing that they be taught to complete it. An example for teaching this skill would be where you help a little one of 18 months or 2 years old pack away any toys they have left lying about and only when all the toys are put away will you all go out and have an ice cream! As your child gets older then he or she should be capable of completing the task on their own, before the ice cream (or going to the park, or going to play with friends etc!)
4: Asking for help
Most children are immensely proud of being able to manage certain things on their own. But should they need help, they should be taught that it is quite all right to ask for help when they have difficulty with anything.
5: Taking turns to talk
This goes hand in hand with #1 where they are taught to listen until the other person has finished talking and then and only then they may answer the other person if appropriate or tell their story. Teaching this skill is easy as you can just play a game with your child where you take turns telling a story and neither of you is allowed to interrupt the other – the one who interrupts the least can be rewarded in some way. Of course, the more children involved in this game, the more difficult it becomes not to interrupt!!
6: Teach your child to do nice things for others
Your child learns this skill from observing how his parents treat others!!! If you take flowers to your mom every time you visit or you help an older lady carry her groceries to her car and your child sees how happy you have made these people, they will be encouraged to also do nice things for others.
7: Accepting “No” for an answer
Again, this is a tough one – similar to teaching them to obey the rules. If you are saying “No” try to be doing so for a very good reason. Explain your line of reasoning to your child (age dependent reasoning, of course!) and if they still have a temper tantrum, stick to your guns!! The idea here is to be consistent – once you have said the “No” word you must be prepared not to give in!!
A good article to read on teaching social skills to your children from little to teenagers can be found here http://lifehacker.com/how-can-i-help-my-kids-develop-better-social-skills-1557575829
Yours in photography