Children often struggle with social emotional skills. Social skills can be learned at any age, but it may develop slowly. Stay patient.
Parents need to stay in tune of their child’s specific social emotional needs and help shape a strong framework for social-emotional health. I believe that children need peers of the same intellectual, emotional and curiosity levels.
6 Ways to Build Social Skills in Your Child:
- Build Her Organization and Problem-Solving Skills – Your child may struggle with disorganization because of high expectations of herself and others. Every day, help your child learn to think for himself. If he can’t find his notebook, guide him to recall where he might have left it. Practice developing problem-solving skills by explaining that you expect her to try looking before coming to you for help.
- Monitor Workload – Be gentle on your child and let her know that she does not need to strive for perfection. Help her break down assignments so she can learn when and how to take a break. Place a timer in her work area so she can get self-monitor when to take breaks. Don’t correct every grammatical error so she doesn’t worry about falling short in your, or others’, eyes.
- Practice ahead of time – Help her learn how to reach out and make friends by practicing with you or siblings in emotionally safe situations. With each simulation, determine a specific goal to work on. Simulate the challenge as best as you can to replicate the feelings. Review the success and work together to find strategies to address the challenges.
- Discuss ahead of time strategies – Together, when he is ready to listen, work on his challenges. Work together to create a plan to work on his urge to control situations and others. Be sure to build in a pause. Counting to 10 or breathing slowly to regain composure is helpful. Create a code word to remind him when he needs to address his behavior.
- Review Friendship issues – Your child may have a hard time making friends. Help your child think of kids that she likes and would like to get to know better. Work on ways she can reach out to them.
- Circumvent self-esteem issues – If he feels lonely, it is important to ask open questions to better understand what his emotions are. Role play the act of first saying hello and starting conversations.
Your goal is to help your child adopt new, positive skills and behaviors. You want them to practice in safe and trusting environment. Part of your child learning social skills is practicing without parents intervening. When a coach is watching a football game he does not suit up and take over. He makes notes to give the players at half time. As a parent coaching your child to improve his social skills the best way to help is to guide, prepare and allow him to practice without minimal interference.
For more information, watch my video on how to encourage social skills development