By – Rekha Rajvanshi
Most of the children develop and learn social skills through their interactions and relationships with others from the time they take birth. However, some lack social skills and need to be taught explicitly. As a learning and support teacher, often those children are referred to me who need support with their social interactions at school. Let’s see some cases-
- A…. doesn’t want to share school toys with others, he loves cars and won’t let other children touch toy cars.
- Ch…. fights with his friends in the playground, and as he loses the game he gets angry and hits others
- S…doesn’t wait for her turn and wants to be the first in everything.
All these children were given strategies on how to control their negative emotions and develop positive relationships with their friends.
What are social skills? Social skills are the ways in which we interact with others. Having good social skills makes it easier for us to have positive relationships in life. Good social skills help us become confident and happy people who are easy to get along with.
Which social skills does my child need to learn? There are many social skills a child needs to learn for successful relationships in life such as- getting along, friendship, cooperation, sharing, respect, taking turns, confidence, assertiveness, self-respect, conflict resolution, organisation, persistence, resilience, anger management, building positive mindset, setting realistic expectations etc.
Tips to parents-
- Set routines, rules and expectations and be consistent.
- Model positive behaviour- Remember your kids learn a lot from you, so model good, positive behaviour. If you criticize others in front of them, they will do it too.
- Spend some time with them, listen to them and solve their problems.
- Teach them to be polite by teaching them 3 magic words sorry, please and thank you. Helping and sharing with others are also important skills.
- Teach empathy- teach your children how other people might feel when certain things happen to them and how would we feel it happens to us.
- Explain personal space- Teach your child about the importance of his and other’s personal space. “We need to respect others”.
- Practice appropriate conversation skills: Teach your child the proper way to start a conversation or get someone’s attention, or join a group of kids who are already playing together.
- Talk about taking turns: Sit with your child for at least an hour a day and play with him to explain what it means to wait, take turns, and share. Practise it at home with tother siblings.
- Teach one skill at a time and be patient.
- Reinforce desired behaviour by giving a reward.
(Rekha Rajvanshi has a Masters of Psychology and Master’s of Philosophy in Education. She also studied Special Education at Macquarie University and works as a learning and Support teacher. She supports students with additional needs on a regular basis. This month, Rekha is sharing information on how to develop your child’s social skills)