Social skills are defined as, the ability to communicate and interact with other without conflict or disharmony. Social skill development begins at infancy and progresses through stages as a child grows. It consists of teaching children how to interact, share and co-operate with others, how to build strong relationships that will last as well as social etiquette and good manners. The proper development of social skills will lay a firm foundation for your child’s future.
You maybe thinking, “Why would it be important to help my child develop social skills when they are just a baby”? Good question. Children grow at an incredible rate during their first years of life. This is why it is important for parents to interact with their children beginning at infancy. Some basic interaction skills are, playing “peek-a-boo”, talking, smiling, making eye contact, repeating names and singing songs.
As your child matures there are several areas of social development that are to be considered…
- How approach another child or join in with a group of children
- How to share, take turns, follow instruction, be kind and considerate and co-operate with others
- How to build proper relationships, work together, involve others in decision making, encourage others
- How to resolve conflict in a proper acceptable manner
- How to develop respect for others and feeling of empathy
- How to communicate properly, exchanging thoughts, needs, desires, opinions and ideas
- How to have a sense of humor
- How to have self-acceptance, self-respect, confidence and assertiveness
- How making a mistake is all part of learning and maturing
Playing is the most natural way that a child’s educational and developmental skills grow and flourish, so interaction between parent and child, play a vital part. The parent/child relationship is the most natural for developing social skills because loving, sensitive parents are emotionally connected and are best at nurturing empathy, emotional self-control and communication skills in their children, which is all preparation for your child’s interaction with others.
In an article published by, News & Information University Communications, entitled, “Finding educational toys is not hard; key is keeping child’s age in mind” states that “toys can play an important role in a child’s education and development, especially for children who haven’t reached first grade yet” and “improvisation during fantasy play leads to all sorts of social and conversational advancement”. Educational toys provide ways for children to work together, share, discuss ideas about how best to solve problems and promote healthy competition as they learn to enjoy the company of one another.
So parents spend daily time with your children and help them practice positive social skills. Remember to point out both positive and negative behavior in your children. Patiently and lovingly discourage the negative behavior and reward and encourage the positive behavior so your child will become successful and popular as well as being able to resolve conflict with others, do well in school and possibly be the one that others look to for help.