The key is to provide more than enough opportunities for your child to practice his/her social skills and get into natural social interactions whether at home or at the early learning centre. Regular practice and action will help your child become more confident in social settings and during playtime, which in turn further enhances his/her confidence and social skills.
Importance of social skills
Knowing how to get along can help your child feel more comfortable and confident in a variety of situations. Your child will also become more willing and engaged during playtime, which results in more fun and activity. This will help your child become more physically active as well as more eager to learn and explore.
With good social skills, your child can better connect and communicate with other children. Each playtime could then be more fun and collaborative (instead of fights sprouting here and there). Your child will have a great time overall because of his/her connection and communication capabilities.
Good social skills will also help your child develop empathy and awareness about other people’s feelings and perceptions. After all, social skills are not all about talking. It’s also about listening where we’re trying to sense what the other person is thinking or feeling at the moment. With good listening skills, empathy and awareness, we can appropriately respond and the other person will become more receptive. It works the same way with children during playtime or ordinary interaction.
The role of regular conversations and enough playtime
To teach your child social skills, it’s good to have a regular conversation with him/her. Encourage your child to tell you about his/her day and ask follow-up questions. Let him/her practice his/her language abilities through regular interaction.
At the early learning centre, there are plenty of opportunities for further development of social skills. This is made possible by lots of playtime (which could be structured or open-ended) where children are allowed to explore freely and interact with different children (whether one-on-one or a small group setting). Even if there’s not much listening and talking during playtime, their nonverbal communication skills will still be practiced. They will also have plenty of chances for their awareness to further develop as they get along with other children.
Other activities (especially extracurricular) also offer plenty of chances for interaction and development of social skills. All these activities, whether at home or at an early learning centre, can teach your child how to better connect and communicate with other people. This in turn will help your child have more fun and become better equipped for the big school and in the years to come.