Recent news about the impact of Covid on young children’s social skills is worrying. But there are few steps you can take to help even very young children get to grips with social interactions and make friends.
In this blog for practical tips, you can use to help you build your child’s social skills, overcome anxiety and build positive friendships. And remember, practice is really important so providing your child with as many opportunities to learn.
Parents can help young children learn to take turns by playing lots of games that involve turn-taking at home. Remember to positively reinforce when they get it right with lots of praise and smiles.
Build emotional awareness
Helping children recognize emotions is a key component in helping young children make friends and developing good social skills. A lovely way to do this is through books. When you are reading a book together with your child, draw their attention to the characters. Parents utilize video on how you can use story time to talk about thoughts and feelings with your young children.
Talk about friendship to build children’s social skills
Books are best way to start conversations about friendships and being kind. Ask questions like, “What makes a good friend? How do they make you feel?” Parents can try some role play here, if that’s something you enjoy. If your child is struggling with one of their friends, try not to jump straight in and tell them what to do. Spend a bit of time exploring why their friend might be acting and give ideas to help out.
Build children’s social skills by providing opportunities to practice
Helping your children make friends is all about practice. Children can’t learn social skills in theory, they need to spend lots of time with other children. Lots of group play will give your child the chance to learn sharing, imaginative play, communication and negotiation skills. And remember, learning through practice means that children will sometimes get it wrong. Do keep watching them to head off any major attractions.
Build to overcoming anxiety
If your child is anxious about social situations, don’t be tempted to keep them at home. Work with your child to identify small brave steps they can take. That might be doing a play date at home rather than going to someone else’s house or keeping things short. They might need help with some words or phrases they can use to join in play and some coping strategies.
So, spending sometime observing them playing can be really helpful!