two young girls playing with kitchen props together at wooden table
By keiki

Help Your Child Develop Social Skills

Socialisation skills are crucial to your child’s overall development and, eventually, to his or her adjustment in school. In fact, we often hear that social skills are the number one concern of parents with children approaching school age. You can help facilitate the development of social skills by:

  • Speaking with your child often as you go about your day.
  • Introducing general courtesies, such as taking turns, letting someone else go first, and how to handle conflict.
  • Specifically teach your children how to introduce themselves at the playground. “Hi, my name is_. Do you want to play with me?” It takes some time for young children to put this skill into practice, but it can really increase their self-confidence!
  • Provide regular opportunities for your child to interact with other children their own age. This can take place in the form of play dates, a playgroup, a community class, or just by making a point to visit the park regularly.

Teaching your child to handle conflict

When it comes to conflict, your child will need some guidance from you regarding how to effectively stand up for themselves without hurting someone else’s feelings. Teach your child to be specific when dealing with conflict, for example “You stepped on my shoe”! rather than ‘’you hurt me!’’. Sometimes, little ones may harm one another in innocence, and the other child is honestly unaware of the impact they’ve had. Teach your child about the opportunities we have to overlook minor offences but also teach your child about appropriate boundaries, because they are an important part of self-respect and safety.

When your child has done something wrong or deserves an apology, demonstrate how to handle apologies, both on the giving and receiving end. It is also important to teach and demonstrate the importance of including others in play and activities.

Developing a sense of empathy

Developing a sense of empathy is also important to mastering socialisation skills. To facilitate your child’s sense of empathy, talk to them often about one another’s feelings. When there is conflict, try to help your child see the event from the other person’s point of view.

Point out to your child that every person is unique, and that we all face different challenges. Some of those challenges are visible for all the world to see, and others are tucked away beneath the surface. Ultimately, we’re all the same, and every human being is worthy of respect and kindness.

Age-by-Age Strategies for Socialisation

Babies

  • Allow family members and friends to hold and play with your baby.
  • Sign up for a parent child class (which can also be a wonderful source of support for you as a parent, too)

      Toddlers

      • Frequent places where your child will have the opportunity to interact with other children his or her age, such as the local park or library.
      • Talk with your child often as you go about your day.
      • Join a local playgroup where you will meet and interact with other families
      • Make chores a community effort. Invite your child to help you with gardening, cooking, or cleaning.

        Kindergartners

        • Arrange for play dates between your child and his or her peers.
        • Deal with tattling by asking what happened before the event that’s being reported to you.
        • Enrol your child in a quality Three Plus learning program that places emphasis on developing social skills.

        Socialisation at Daycare

        Keiki Early Learning schools provide a nurturing environment where children of all ages can develop socialisation skills at their own pace and supported by qualified and experienced educators. Our Three Plus School Readiness program also helps prepare children for school by introducing ‘play and learning to socialise’ skills into the daily curriculum. For more information, contact your nearest Keiki Early Learning school.