Great ways to help your child build their social skills

by Anna Michaelidou

Some children are naturally very social while others may need a helping hand to build these invaluable skills. Children develop different social skills at different ages from saying "hi" and "bye" or laughing at something amusing from two-to-three years of age to using different gestures and postures and sharing their emotions more easily by the age of seven.


What are social skills?

Social skills are basically the skills we use to communicate verbally and non-verbally. These skills are developed through gestures and our own body-language, our feelings, emotions and thoughts and with other people. And well-developed social skills come with some great advantages such as enhanced communication, better relationships, greater career prospects and a happier self.

Improve your child's social development

children ball

There are plenty of ways for you to help your child develop their social skills. Inviting another child to come over and play is a great way to help teach your child the concept of sharing, being polite and introducing some basic rules for when their friend comes over. Learning to talk to other children of their age and sharing ideas is great for imagination building.

Helping your child build their social skills isn't simply to teach them to follow rules and remember their manners, but to inspire them to think for themselves, and learn to understand feelings; both their own and those of others. Exploring different scenarios with your child and talking about how they may feel during certain situations or how someone else might feel will aid in teaching your child skills such as appreciation, empathy, compassion and responsiveness.

Patience and learning to wait their turn or waiting for someone to finish talking is another important social skill that children will benefit greatly from. Play games with your child and encourage them to wait their turn and share. Having conversations and discussing different topics and ideas will encourage brainstorming and improve their thinking and speaking skills.

Game ideas for specific social skills

children playing

There are plenty of ways to help your child build specific social skills that may need extra work. 'Simon Says' is a great game for allowing your child to follow actions whilst word games such as 'Scrabble' will help your child build their vocabulary and patience.

Good family television shows will teach your children about different character traits and personalities whilst also allowing them to observe the different ways different people express their feelings. The same applies to good books that can be read together and discussed; you can bring characters to life, talk about how your child would feel if in another person's shoes or change the story to think about different outcomes.

To conclude

Good social skills will ensure your child has a better chance at good career prospects and a happier adult life. Your children will learn from you but they will also learn from their peers so social interaction with other children their age is imperative. Talk to your child about their different meetings and how they feel about certain people. Simply playing games with your child and talking to them often about as many different things as you can will help them develop great social skills.