Creating relationships and maintaining them is a skill that is constantly developing and refining throughout our entire lives. Friendships are important for social support, the buildup of self-esteem, and the overall enhancement of life. It all begins as a child at playtime with peers.
Sometimes children can have a hard time establishing friendships or being social. It can be due to a variety of reasons, such as fear of rejection or poor past experiences. As a parent, knowing your child is not thriving off playing with friends as they should be can be unsettling.
Socialization and play is crucial for normal development. Fortunately, there are ways to help improve your child’s socialization skills so that they can have those opportunities for friendships and play.
Here are some suggestions on how to help your child be more social:
Know Limits and Attitudes
It is important to establish what is causing your child to have low socialization. Some children are naturally introverted; some children who are usually extroverts can experience social anxiety. Children who have a disability may be only able to withstand a few hours of social time a day. Understanding what your child’s limits are to prevent social burnout as well as attitudes to employ the most beneficial strategies is important to successfully evolve social skills.
Inspire Participation of Interests
By having your child pursue activities they are genuinely interested in they will be naturally motivated to make meaningful contributions and likely have confident feelings about the subject. This can promote more effortless connections and relatability between children.
Active Listening and Questioning
Active listening and questioning is a great way to promote the continuance of conversations. By teaching your child how to focus on what others are saying and what they mean allows for greater understanding by the child of others. This can then make it easier for the child to ask questions in order to get to know others and keep the conversation going.
When children are at ease, anxiety is reduced making it more likely for your child to participate in positive social interactions. This can be done through hosting playdates at home or in other settings your child is familiar with, through structured activities such as those hosted in clubs, or planning activities ahead of time so they know what to expect.
Good Role Modeling
Children reflect what they see in their surroundings. If you are setting a good example of proper communication skills when talking to others, your child can pick up on this and repeat these same behaviors. This requires being consciously aware of when you are being observed and interacting as you would like them to.
Do you have questions about diagnostic evaluations or your child’s development? Contact the Goldman Center to speak with one of our specialists who can answer all of your questions! (773) 998-8500
Brain Balance Achievement Centers. (2020). 6 ways to improve your child’s social skills. https://blog.brainbalancecenters.com/2017/06/6-ways-improve-childs-social-skills
Child Mind Institute. (2014). Should I force my child to socialize more? Understood. understood.org/en/friends-feelings/managing-feelings/loneliness-sadness-isolation/should-i-force-my-lonely-child-to-socialize-more
Sterland, E. (2012, November 27). 13 ways to enhance your child’s social skills and make friends. Friendship Circle. https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2012/11/27/13-ways-to-enhance-your-childs-social-skills-and-make-friends/