Today's generation has a lot of entertainment right in the comfort of their own homes. Their devices are smart and the network is fast. They did not have to endure the dial-up process and bulky hardware that our generation experienced, it's just simple finger-tapping.
This is one factor that hinders our children from learning how to socialize more, but there could be more reasons out there other than technology.
What we want to learn is how to battle these challenges by thinking of ways to make our children interact successfully with other children, hopefully with the least amount of effort. And just like what they do today, it all begins in the comfort of our home.
10 Preparation is Key
There is nobody who knows a son or daughter more than their mother. But that doesn't mean that we do not have to do some recon when it comes to how we can help our own kids socialize more. It's just a simple and efficient preparation for a targeted approach.
Find out what social skills our child lacks, are they shy when dealing with fellow kids or maybe nervous in a crowd or group. Perhaps it just takes them a while to warm up, whatever the issue is, big or small, we'd know what to focus on first after some preparation.
9 Walk the Walk
The expression "monkey see, monkey do" comes to mind when we want to help our kids socialize better. When we are with them, let's make an effort to socialize with other people for their benefit.
They will remember and emulate that interaction, and it is one skill they learn from simply observing us. Be very careful though, there may be some things that we might do that might not be a good example for them, so tread lightly. The best way to go about it is to walk the walk and talk the talk, even when the kids aren't with us.
8 Look Me in the Eye
Eye contact is a crucial part of building confidence in a young individual's personality. It's probably one of the easiest things that we can thoroughly and constantly teach our kids. Telling them to look at you when they are talking is always effective, also when they are answering our questions.
7 What am I feeling now?
If you haven't watched Disney Pixar's animated film titled Inside Out, go watch it with your kids soon. This film is a very good introduction to helping your child acknowledge and understand their feelings. Their emotions may not be as complex as ours, but they still control their behavior nonetheless, and that is a big part of how they interact with other people.
It could also be a crucial learning moment for us as parents because we surely will uncover a personality in our child that we didn't know was there. Use simple questions like asking them how they feel about something that happened to a character in a TV show. Their joy and sadness can be explained, and we should be there to listen to.
6 Games and Role Plays
The staring contest is an example of a game we can have to help build and improve our children's social skills. Try to tailor the 20 questions game to something that would make them practice their social skills.
For example, what 20 questions will you ask someone to know if they can be your new best friend? Role-plays are really good, it will let us gauge how confident our child is and we'll see firsthand what they will say and do in a scenario-based setting. "What would you do...." we can start with that, and see where our child leads us.
5 Practice Time
We may have done several activities and games with our kids to sharpen their social skills, but it's always a good idea to go back to them so that they don't forget. Let's refresh their memory on the pertinent things they learned from these tasks and small projects.
Practicing sharpens the memory, and it translates to sharpening their social skills, so touch base and do them all over again with them. Make it exciting and keep them on their toes by introducing a new element to the activity, or a new rule to the game. When done properly, it won't feel like practice, even to us.
4 The Carrot and the Carrot
With all the games and practicing that we do with our children, all the role-plays and activities to help them socialize better, we might be forgetting the most fun part of it all, rewarding them.
The act of rewarding them goes a mile and a half, it tells them that they did a great job and they would willingly do a great job again. Be creative enough with the rewards, but do not do rewards all the time. A simple acknowledgment and reinforcement is also effective. Words always pierce the heart, so say a lot of encouraging words to inspire the kids.
3 Set Their Expectations
There will be times that we can't truly prepare for something that comes our way, that's the definition of life. It's a fact that our children should be made aware of from the get-go. So, have that conversation with them.
Explain the eccentricities of friendship and the things that could happen to them even though they did everything right. This will set their expectations for disappointment, sadness, and even heartbreak. There is a not so pretty side to everything, and it would not be so prudent if we choose to shield our babies from those possibilities. And then as parents, be there for the child, and be strong and ready for it if they do happen.
2 Let's Make Some Friends
The school and the neighborhood, these are the common places where we find our friends as a child or a young teen. We cultivate these friendships and if we're lucky, we've got a friend for life.
We want that more than ever for our own children, that's why we are doing what we can to improve their social skills. It's time now to unscrew the training wheels, to remove the floaters, and to let them make a new friend. It has to be natural, never make them feel pressured. Give them a nudge, but no pushing. We'll find that we taught them well.
1 Observe from a Distance
It is a nice feeling to have knowing that our child has a friend, and it's even nicer if they are spending a lot of time together. But of course, boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Did you not have an argument with a friend, a fight with a best friend even?
Of course, we did, and if this happens to our children and their newfound friend, do not go running to their rescue. Take a breath and remember that we taught them well, they will work it out. That fight is going to be just another funny story for when they get older.