Humans are social animals, and even if you are an introvert, socializing is necessary for everyone. Kids are no different. For them, having friends to talk to and play with is essential. However, kids can find it the hardest thing ever—making friends. A few children find it challenging to even talk to new people, whether they are friends, teachers, or others. Not being able to socialize makes a child shy and lonely and affects their overall development. Therefore, as parents, you can support them and help them socialize. Teaching them the necessary skills, exposing them to social outings, or using activities and games can all help. If you are wondering how to help build social skills in your child, read below.
Practice talking with your kids. If they are shy or do not engage in talking with others, this is a great idea. You can use role-playing or puppets to talk to them. Playing a game with them where you role-play as their favorite character, toy, or fairy and talk to them will help them. Similarly, you can tell them everything you do during the day. It will help them develop their language. Also, remember to use polite words like ‘please,’ ‘sorry,’ or ‘ thank you.’ It will encourage them to converse using such words with their peers.
Let them ask questions.
Kids feel noisy when they ask questions. But asking questions is good for their social skills. It helps them learn and be social with new people too. So, let them ask you questions, encourage them to ask questions of their relatives or friends, and so on.
Help the child build a social circle.
To improve their social skills, a child needs a social circle. It is also necessary, as it allows them to spend time with others like their age. It helps them make friends or talk with peers without getting overwhelmed. For this, you can take your kids to the garden, where there are so many children. Encourage your child to go and talk to a few children. Or arrange playdates at home where kids can play on the swings or build LEGOs together. Check Lifespan Kids for indoor or outdoor toys to keep kids busy. You can even have a house party inviting children from your child’s class or your neighbor for a fun time.
Encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities.
Do not hold them back if they want to be part of a sport, theater, or any other activity. If they are reluctant, encourage them to be part of one. It will benefit their social skills, as being part of activities allows them to interact with children who share their interests. Also, these activities happen outside school hours, which gives them a better chance to bond, work, and play.
Help them develop emotional skills.
Children may find it challenging to understand all the emotions they are feeling. So, help them understand what they are feeling and why. It will help them be empty-minded towards others and react appropriately. Being an empath can help them be better at making friends or socializing.
A great social skill-building activity is improvised storytime. It allows the child to tell an impromptu story using their imagination. You can place a few cards on the table and ask the kid to use one or two to create a story. It works best to keep all the kids together and start talking at a party or gathering. You can ask the kids to build on the story the other kid is telling to get them more into the activity.
Expression mimicking game
In this, you make an expression, and your child mimics it. It teaches them the social skill of understanding emotions. It will allow them to understand what a particular expression means when they see it on a stranger’s or their peer’s face.
Your child should be capable of expressing their opinions. They should be bold enough to go out, make friends, and play with them. All this helps them through their lives, and teaching them to be social at a younger age is the best.