Developing children’s social skills
Developing children’s social skills from an early age is a vital part of child’s education. Here are some key areas of social and personal skills that kindergarten and primary children should acquire.
- Eye contact: Children learn everything faster when they have improved eye contact. It is vital for developing communication skills and building healthy relationships. What are the different ways to develop better eye contact in children?
- Always look into the children’s eyes while you or they are talking.
- Give the children some direct instruction and make some rules for making eye contact.
- In the beginning, teach them or make them habituated of looking into your eyes or their friend’s eyes while engaged in any sort of conversation.
- Explain to them that it is polite and a good thing to look into the eyes of the person who is talking.
- Use eye stickers on your forehead while playing games with children or when telling stories or doing any other activities. Encourage children to glance at the stickers whenever they are talking or listening to you.
- Taking turns and standing in a queue: Children need to learn that they cannot be always first and must take turns with classmates and peers. Teach them to take turns while doing different activities. In the beginning of the year, teachers should spend enough time teaching rules to children; be sure children are having fun while practising the rules. Help the children develop their sense of patience and self-control. Play statue game (freeze it) to develop balance and control in them.
- Conversation skills: Teach the children some simple expressions to greet, ask for things, be polite, express their feelings, ask for help, turn taking, play with friends and many more.
- No interfering: Teach them to wait for a pause in the conversation so they do not interrupt someone who is in mid-sentence. This will also control classroom noise and helps to develop the sense of waiting for turn.
- Manners and behaviour: Behave well and acknowledge good behaviour. Reward good behaviour with some type of small prize. Positive reinforcement works like magic. Praise your child when you see them following the rules – waiting during a difficult situation or taking turns with a friend. Model friendly behaviour and act out how they would behave in different scenarios. Do activities to help the children understand the differences between good and bad manners. Give them the examples of good and bad manners.
- Thematic learning: Children learn best when they are interested in what they are learning. Thus, most teachers use thematic learning to get the children excited about learning. Often the children are having so much fun they do not even know they are learning. Theme units are centred on a specific topic like transportation, winter and holiday; and such units include various kinds of skills like literacy, math, sensory skills, pretend play and art activities to include the main theme.
Some general tips for teachers and parents:
Social skills activities come in a variety of forms but all of them have the same goal – to help your child become a better communicator and learn to work with others. Here are some general tips for teachers and parents.
- Encourage children to feel closer to you.
- Remain calm and peaceful when any child is crying.
- Teach children to listen, communicate and cooperate.
- Praise them every time.
- Teach them to enjoy participating in group activities.
- Be dynamic with your children and respond to them with great enthusiasm. Vary your voice tone, facial expressions and body movements to make yourself express your enthusiasm.
- Don’t react strangely or give emotional response when children do some negative stuff.
- Teach the children to keep them safe, stay clean, strong, and calm.
- Model good manners and encourage children to tell the truth.
- Always provide positive attention.
- Act always with love and compassion
- Smile, smile and smile.