Stimulating your child’s social and communication skills from a young age is something they will thank you for for the rest of their lives. Find out how you can help below.
The better the exposure you child has with the community, the faster his or her social skills will develop. Don’t shelter your child, allow them to interact and communicate with other children of varied ages, genders, and social circles. The earlier they meet people from all walks of life, the more experience they will gain in socializing and dealing with challenging situations.
Eye contact is extremely important when it comes to social interactions. To enforce this in your child, you can try placing a sticker of an eye on your forehead. Encourage them to look at the stickers. It may not be exactly looking at your eyes but it is training them to look in the right direction in a funny, less threatening way.
Certain activities and games can provide help in improving early social skills in children. Sit with your child, and help them look through magazines or other visual books and observe the character’s facial expressions. Ask them how they think the characters are feeling from looking at the picture or visual (sad, happy, angry, joyful). This will help kids recognize body language and be able to distinguish between different facial expressions and build emotional intelligence.
Some kids are naturally shy, but constantly labeling them as shy can make them more aware and anxious of interacting with other children. Instead, acknowledge you child’s feelings and encourage them to overcome their fears.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to monitor your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the social skills department. Check whether he/she listens to others? Do they follow the steps and rules? Can they ignore distractions? Can they ask for help? Do they take turns when talking with others? If your child does not do all or most of the above, this could be an indication that they need help with their social skills development.