How to improve the Social Skills Of Your Child After the COVID-19 pandemic?
Social skills are a set of abilities that must be continually honed as your children grow older. They are not something that your child has or does not have. These are skills that can be learned and honed through hard work and practice.
As our communities reopen and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, parents and caregivers are reminded that their children have missed out on valuable socialisation opportunities. Birthday parties, playdates, sports, dance, art classes, and all other activities where young children typically get to spend time outside of school socialising with peers have been cancelled for over a year.
Why is socializing so important for children?
All other aspects of your child’s development are influenced by his or her social development. Children require social interaction in order to thrive and promote healthy brain development.
When kids socialize, they learn:
- how to interact with others
- empathy skills
- how to give and take
- social cues
- social norms
The aforementioned abilities aid in cognitive development, literacy development, and physical development. These areas of development are all intertwined!
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken away many opportunities for children, including the opportunity to develop and practise social skills. Returning to a classroom environment can be difficult and overwhelming for all school-aged children, especially those who are already introverted. Prior to returning to in-person schooling, it is critical that our children have opportunities to develop and practise their social skills.
Despite the fact that we have very limited opportunities to be physically close to others, we can socialise anywhere and at any time. It only takes a little imagination and an open mind to help your child keep up with all of the great work on their social skills.
Here are some helpful tips for overcoming this issue and assisting your child in making further progress:
Practice Role Playing:
Pretend-playing with younger and older children is an excellent way for children to actively practise their social skills. Many companies provide parents with practical advice for effective role-playing. Pretend your child is the person with whom they are having difficulty communicating or getting along. This will give you an idea of what this person is like, or how your child perceives this person. Then switch roles to see how your child performs when he or she pretends to interact with the person.
Suggest ways for your child to communicate more effectively with the individual. When advising your child, don’t forget to use body language, such as smiling and making eye contact.
Play and Learn:
Learning through play is a psychological and educational method for developing social and cognitive skills. Parents can spend quality time with their children by involving them in board games. Alternatively, play games that require a lot of perspective-taking skills. In a guessing game, for example, it requires analytical thinking, derivable reasoning that suggests helpful questions, taking turns, and tolerating frustration if they lose.
Bringing children into the kitchen can help them gain confidence, basic skills, and improve their mood through this enjoyable activity. Allow them to demonstrate their abilities and work in the kitchen. Introduce them to new words and recipes, and encourage them to try new foods.
Allow them to be creative and adventurous when assembling a pizza or decorating the salad on the plate. Finally, don’t forget to commend them at the end, even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you expected; simply commend their efforts!
Read and Discuss Books:
Incorporate more focused activities, such as book reading habits, into their daily routine. Introduce them to various motivating characters, story events, and social situations in a plot that encourages prosocial thinking. Have a balanced discussion about the book. Inquire about the story, the characters, or the setting.
This is just a fun way to practise conversation skills. Share your life experiences, as well as unique and sometimes embarrassing stories from your past, in order to instil values and the strength to deal with difficult and unexpected circumstances.
Have practice conversations:
Encourage your child to learn to have a balanced conversation by sharing information about himself or herself as well as asking appropriate questions to learn more about the other person. Playing a game in which the goal is to have the longest back-and-forth conversation possible is a fun way to improve conversation skills.
Stack tokens or blocks every time someone says something that keeps the conversation going, and see how tall you can make your tower. If your child is having difficulty moving the conversation along, pause the game and help them think of a question or comment that would help the tower grow taller.
Infants and toddlers explore their surroundings through movement and interaction. As a child gains confidence and control over her body, she becomes more eager to explore her surroundings. Aid her natural curiosity by planning activities that encourage safe exploration both at home and outside.
Asking children for assistance while preparing a meal is one example. Or assigning them the task of finding an item at the grocery store. When you give children opportunities to participate in more complex activities, they will rise to the occasion.
Invite friends home:
Invite others to your home to foster friendships. In most cases, the person you care for will be more relaxed at home and will be better able to work on appropriate social interaction.
Teach them emotions:
Allow your children to imitate a wide range of emotions, such as joy, anger, disappointment, excitement, mischief, strangeness, nervousness, tiredness, terror, danger, and so on.
Play the ‘identify the emotion’ game by making faces or holding placards with various smiley faces. This allows them to differentiate emotions and express themselves more effectively, as well as avoid becoming confused when interacting with other children or adults.
Prepare them for higher social skills:
A child who can communicate and express themselves freely is better prepared to face challenges as they grow up and face complex situations. Allow your children to develop skills such as negotiation, conflict resolution, nonverbal communication, assertiveness, bargaining, public speaking, and so on.
Good social skills enable children to have more positive peer relationships. However, the advantages of strong social skills extend far beyond social acceptance. Children with better social skills are more likely to benefit right away.
Making Eye Contact:
Eye contact is an essential part of communication. Some children find it difficult to look at the person with whom they are conversing. Whether your child is shy and prefers to stare at the floor or simply refuses to look up when engrossed in another activity, stress the importance of good eye contact.
Social skills, also known as soft skills, are important in interpersonal situations as well as an individual’s own characteristics.
It’s normal for children to be wary of new situations and people. They simply need the confidence to navigate any situation in which social skills are required. Remember that each child is unique and interacts with the world in their own unique way!
You can gently nudge your child and be their biggest supporter as they develop a better social understanding.
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