As parents, we all want our children to thrive socially as well as academically and emotionally, but it’s a life skill that kids have to develop and hone as they mature. It takes practise to master the art of socializing, and your child’s natural personality will play a part in how easy they find this. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to help children with their social skills, as outlined by this nursery in Winchester.
Encourage extra-curricular activities
Taking part in sports or another hobby will give your child the chance to interact with children who share the same interests as them, which can make it easier when it comes to socializing as they’ll have common ground to cover in conversations. They might find they’re not even worried about talking to people as they’re so engrossed in an activity they really enjoy, which will boost their confidence for future social situations.
Role play different scenarios
If your child struggles to know what to say to other children, try practising how they could start conversations and what questions they could ask people. Pretend you’re a child they find it hard to talk to, and get them to try and maintain a conversation with you, prompting them with suggestions. Make sure you include guidance on body language so they know that listening to the other person with their full attention is also important.
Be a good role model
Children learn a lot from watching how their parents and caregivers interact with people, so bear in mind that your child will look to you for clues on how to behave toward others. Try to demonstrate confidence in your social interactions when they’re with you, such as greeting a checkout operator and engaging in polite small talk at the supermarket. You’ll send a signal to your child that talking to people is nothing to be feared, and can actually be enjoyable!
Teach them about emotions
Teaching children about the different emotions people experience and things like empathy will help them know how to behave with others. If your child is able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, they’ll find it easier to understand how they’re feeling and how to respond to them. You can prepare your child for this by asking them questions when you’re watching a movie or reading a book about how characters might be feeling to get them thinking.
Socializing takes practise, so the best thing you can do to help your child is encourage them to step out of their comfort zone regularly and give them plenty of opportunities to interact with different people.