Learning to read and write are the first steps to your child’s lifelong learning journey. However, what many parents may overlook is the importance of developing basic social skills early. Children rarely ever learn alone, in fact, they often mimic what their parents and siblings do.
Before focusing on the academic aspects, you can begin emphasising the different social skills through various activities at home. From understanding verbal and non-verbal cues, social skills allow children to maintain positive interactions with others throughout their lives.
Supporting the development of social skills will strengthen your child’s ability to sustain attention, regulate emotions, and develop comprehension amongst other things. With a stronger sense of self, their ability to gain and retain new knowledge improves. Here are some ways we can facilitate the development of social skills in a child.
1. Nurture Curiosity
Curiosity helps children explore their feelings and the world around them. It is where the true thirst for knowledge begins in every child. Every child is born with an innate curiosity, one that parents and educators can encourage through small but simple steps.
Not only are they actively seeking knowledge, they also use language to describe what they think, feel, and see, improving their vocabulary. Offer your inquisitive child opportunities to explore by using unstructured play methods. Bring them to a park or zoo, and help them name animals and plants they see. Let your child play on their own on the playground and with other children, giving them the chance to make their own rules and use their imagination.
2. Inspire Confidence
Developing confidence in your child is to make them feel good about themselves, both individually and with others. By feeling secure, they can pursue personal interests without crippling fear or anxiety. They are also much more likely to succeed.
Confidence goes hand in hand with the nurturing of a growth mindset, or as we like to call it, the Champion Mindset. You can develop confidence in your children over time by giving them tasks to complete. When children complete a task, they familiarise themselves with feelings of ownership, independence, and pride. Simple tasks such as keeping their toys away or learning to brush their teeth every night can do wonders for their self-esteem over time.
3. Encourage Communication
It is also important for children to be able to express themselves clearly; in fact, they begin doing so by making sounds as babies to communicate their needs and wants to their caregivers.
Children on the Autism Spectrum or with developmental delays may take longer to grow confidence with this skill. With the Early Intervention Programme at MindChamps Allied Care, they are supported with close partnership and tailored learning objectives to help improve the learning outcome. Parents can encourage daily communication by asking them about their day or talking about books read together.
Support Your Child’s Social Development
Developing social skills is easiest done through play and it is often the important part of a child’s growth. From learning about oneself to relating to others, your child will begin forming character through the practice of everyday skills such as the above. The experiences your child gains early serves as foundation for their later years. Every child, no matter their pace, deserves a chance to grow into the individual they are meant to be.