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Is your child not interacting with other kids? Here are 4 ways to help improve your child’s social skills.

Making friends can be quite a challenge for some children as they may lack confidence or have difficulty developing the necessary social skills. So many of our daily interactions require social skills, whether it’s ordering a pizza, working out solutions with our colleagues or asking someone where the bathroom is. As adults, we’ve had years to work on our social skills, but our kids are still learning the basics. But fret not, there are ways you can help to teach your child to overcome their fears and make friends.

Model Appropriate Social Behaviour

Use everyday routines to “show and tell” your child your expectations for appropriate behaviour. For example, how to greet someone new or how to share a toy during play. Talk about what you’re doing as you’re doing it. Then your child will better understand how to manage the situation and replicate it, even when you’re not there.

Encourage Exploration

Infants and young children explore their environment through movement and interaction. As your child develops confidence and control over their body, they become more eager to venture into the world around them.

Aid their natural curiosity by organising activities that promote safe exploration, both at home and while out. Examples include asking them for help while preparing a meal. Or tasking them with finding an item at the grocery store. Your child will rise to the occasion when you give them opportunities to take part in more complex activities.

Practice Role Playing

Pretend-play, with both younger and older children, is a great way for children to actively practice their social skills. Have your child pretend to be the person they have difficulty talking to or getting along with. This will give you an idea of what this person is like, or at least how your child perceives this particular person. Suggest ways your child can talk more effectively with them.

Know Your Child’s Limit

Some children are simply more social than others. A child who is shy and introverted should not be expected to interact in the same way as a child who is naturally outgoing. Some children are comfortable in large settings, while others find it easier to relate to their peers when in smaller groups, thus it’s important to understand your child’s limits.

There are many nuances to how we speak, act and interact with one another. And many adults struggle with some of this stuff too. Navigating social skills with your child may feel overwhelming at times however by persistently encouraging them with positive reinforcement, you can help them manage the world of social interactions.

But remember, your child isn’t going to learn all the social skills overnight and if they’re struggling you can always reach out to a doctor or specialist if you need more support.

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