Social skills are an essential aspect of a young learner’s growth as a well-rounded person and for their future careers and professional lives. Having a solid foundation in social skills will support young learners as they make their way through their early development and beyond, enabling them to communicate clearly, form enduring connections with others and navigate challenging circumstances with poise. Here, we will look at six ways to improve young learners’ social skills to help make this possible. We will cover simple and accessible methods that you can use to support your child in developing core social skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Follow their interests
When a child is engaged in activities they actually enjoy and are interested in, socialising with others will come more effortlessly to them. That is the first step towards developing social skills, whether that means taking part in a favourite sport, playing an instrument they enjoy, or joining a club they might find interesting. It also puts a child in the company of others who share their interests, undoubtedly making them feel more comfortable. While it’s essential to interact with people with diverse interests, starting with kids who share your interests is an excellent approach to developing social skills more rapidly.
Model positive social behaviour
Observing and imitating others is essential to how children learn to behave and communicate with others. That is why it is critical for parents and educators to set a good example and present models of what positive social behaviour they want young learners to practice. That means showing children how to politely greet others, being open to sharing things, refraining from using foul language and showing gratitude to others. As young learners observe their parents, educators and other children modelling these good social behaviours, they will be more inclined to imitate them.
Teach young learners empathy
Children are considerably more likely to feel connected to others and develop strong ties if they have a better understanding of how others might be thinking or feeling. By discussing various circumstances and scenarios with their children, parents can help give advice and guidance that teaches them empathy. When each of these things occurs, enquire as to how other individuals might feel. Developing children’s ability to listen to others in an active manner is a critical component of teaching empathy. That means paying attention to what other people are saying and then, once the conversation finishes, reflecting on what the other person said.
Encourage them to ask questions
Children who experience nervousness or conversation lulls may grow more reclusive and have difficulty interacting with others in the future. According to studies, there are various strategies for kids to start and continue having constructive conversations with others. To ask questions is one purposeful action. The best way for children to find out about others and form connections is for the young learners to ask questions about the person with whom they are having a conversation. Encourage young learners to ask questions that have answers other than a simple yes or no.
Encourage expressions of feelings
Another crucial factor to consider for a young learner’s social and emotional development is promoting healthy and respectful emotional and thought expression. Children can develop self-awareness and a better understanding of the feelings and viewpoints of others by being allowed to express themselves in a secure and encouraging atmosphere. As a result, they will be able to develop deeper bonds with others and grow in empathy and understanding. Parents and educators should encourage children to express their emotions in a healthy manner by engaging young learners in a variety of activities such as writing, contributing to family discussions, or attending counselling sessions. Children need to be heard and understood, so it is crucial to encourage them to speak up by providing them with a safe and non-judgmental environment, listening to what they have to say and supporting their feelings.
Large and small group activities can help kids learn social skills like accountability, goal-setting, and collaboration, in addition to academic advantages. Students frequently receive roles inside the group that they must uphold. These groups might be self-organised at times or pre-planned at other times. When used sparingly, group activities can also assist more reserved kids in learning to connect with others and helps promote polite behaviour when utilised to attract extroverts. Group conversations, group projects, and games are a few examples of in-depth group activities. More intricate assignments or activities may benefit from group activities with a smaller number of participants.
A young learner’s development as a well-rounded individual can depend quite heavily on their social skills. That makes ensuring that they have a solid foundation of social skills crucial for their growth and future professional life. Our six ways to improve young learners’ social skills will help you build this strong foundation for your children. By putting these techniques into practice, parents can help their children develop strong social skills early on that will serve them well throughout their lives.