There are some aspects of work and parenthood that just don’t mix and we can feel very guilty that we are not able to nurture our child the way we want. This means we’ve got to take the initiative and ensure that our children develop the right skills.
Social skills are one of those things that they learn from us. They take their cues from their parents, as we did when we were growing up. But even if we don’t have the adequate skills ourselves, it’s important for them to have an abundance of resources in which to draw from, not just so they make friends, but are set up for life.
Should We Throw Them in at the Deep End?
In one respect, it can be easy enough to help them come along in a social sense, especially if they’ve been at home for too long. But if you put them in a child care center, you can expect a few issues at the outset, but gradually, the more they go, the more they will get used to this. It can be very heartbreaking the very beginning to leave your child upset, but it’s important to establish a regular routine. It’s far better to put them in a daycare center for as many sessions per week as possible. Instead of putting them in one day every couple of weeks or so, there is no sense of routine, and by the time they have to go back, they will struggle all over again.
Teaching Them the Appropriate Strategies
There are four key areas that we need to focus on. Empathy, personal space, starting a conversation, and taking turns. What we can do to ensure that these four areas are solidified is to discuss different scenarios as much as possible in terms of empathy and explaining how other people may feel, rather than just focusing on your child and the “me factor.” It’s the same with personal space and finding the right way to start a conversation. And the most important aspect when it comes to being sociable is learning how to share. We have to sit with our child, preferably for an hour a day, and explain what it means to wait their turn as well as share.
Teaching Them Social Cues
These include non-verbal skills like facial expressions and body language. This can also consist of a different range of tones, so your child can differentiate between a relaxed tone of voice and a stressed one. You can do this by being more animated in the stories you read, making sure that the emotions are linked to what the characters are saying. But what you can also do is ask your child, when watching a certain TV show, if a character is happy or sad, and by turning the sound off, see if they can judge specific body language.
Developing social skills is all about providing a specific baseline. Many children are unable to develop as quickly as others, but this isn’t something we should take to heart. We all learn in our own way. But we need to take the lead when it comes to developing our children’s social skills, especially if we don’t have much ourselves! What’s amazing, as a parent, is that we can learn so much about our own lack of skill.