While learning the alphabet or knowing how to count is important, another set of skills has been determined to play a significant role in children’s success later in life – social skills.

Social skills are behaviors and forms of communication that make an individual effective when it comes to creating and maintaining relationships. People who have developed these skills are more likely to demonstrate a higher ability to solve problems, ensure healthy interactions, and handle social situations.

As parents, building social skills in your little one should be one of your top priorities. It’s not something you can just leave in the hands of their teachers at school. Help your little one build social skills at home by checking out these ideas.

Support their interests

Whether it’s immersing in an art project, discovering cooking skills, or honing their skills in a sport, cultivating interests can be one of the first steps to building social skills.

When a child enjoys a particular activity or does something they are genuinely passionate about, enjoying the company of others will become more natural. It will also provide them more opportunities to be with other kids who share similar interests, which is also helpful in developing social skills. 

So even when they’re home, be sure to encourage your little one to pursue their interests. Make them feel supported by providing them as many avenues and opportunities as possible for pursuing their passion. 

Encourage asking questions

Young kids usually don’t find it easy to engage in conversations with other kids. It’s because they’re either shy or nervous, or because they simply don’t know how to do it. So start by teaching them how to ask questions. After all, a lot of good conversations spring from basic, simple questions.

When asking questions, teach your child to ask the kinds of questions that directly pertain to the person they’re talking to. Veer away from questions that can be answered with yes or no. Instead ask open-ended ones. Some examples would be asking about another kid’s favorite toy or favorite color or favorite game.

Practice role-play

Role play to further sharpen your child’s questioning skills. Do pretend play and choose the characters you want to portray. For example, you can pretend to be a teacher in a classroom who asks questions about their favorite snack. Once they’ve answered your questions, switch roles and let them do the asking. Make this activity a regular part of their day until they feel comfortable with handling a conversation. 

Teach them empathy

Young kids are more likely to create healthy and positive bonds when they learn to understand how others feel. As parents, you have a role to play in teaching your little one how to empathize. Talk about various situations and scenarios with your little one and let them put themselves in other people’s shoes. Ask them to think about what they would feel if the same circumstance happened to them.

Highlight the importance of active listening

Part of building social skills is learning how to effectively communicate. While you’re teaching your child how to engage in a conversation by asking questions and overcoming shyness, it’s also important that they learn how to actively listen. Teach them to focus on what others are saying instead of focusing only on what they have to say.

Give them the environment

There’s no better way to sharpen a child’s social skills than by putting them in an environment where they can build and practice it. The right environment will give your child the exposure and opportunities for interaction with others. However, if certain circumstances do not permit social gatherings, your home could be that perfect environment for now. 

Be present with your child as much as you can so you can get them to talk frequently. If they have friends and playmates they’d love to get in touch with, set up virtual playdates to give them the chance to socialize. 

Social skills are an important aspect of a child’s holistic development. Help your little one grow up to be a socially intelligent individual by following these tips for building social skills. 

For more helpful parenting tips or if you’re looking for the best childcare center for your little one, please visit Cornerstone Learning Center