Though man is a social animal, as we studied in our education, there are times when we feel afraid to get social. There are doubts in mind, what if I get rejected, what if someone makes fun of me. As an adult we can handle these situations. The same way we should teach our children, so that they become confidant, friendly and happy person one day. That is why social skills in children become very important.
Some kids are extrovert, they tend to get mixed with other children very quickly. Some are shy, they take time. We have to support them with lots of love. Love towards your child is the key for any change you want to make. This key makes you understand what suits your child and what not, what her positive attributes are, and how to work on negative ones. Give a patient ear to their complaints and work on it.
Here are few techniques that will help you to help children socialize. These techniques will require few activities to be planned during free time of children. But overall these should give miraculous results.
Play time!!! Assign roles to you and your child, and enact some situations. This is best to learn how to behave in particular situation. You can enact situations at school, library, shopping mall etc. These places are well known to children.
Here is an example of activity-
You can become a librarian, and let your child become library user. Then you can enact a scene where user comes in, the librarian greets the user, user requests for some books, librarian gives those books and user thanks her. Children loves such games. It’s a best way to teach them communication practices rather than just telling them.
Once they learn it, they try to use it. And once they effectively use these learnings, they feel confidant. If there are more kids in house, who can play together, then these roles can be assigned amongst them. It gives more fun to children.
Play Time with Like-Minded Friends
Invite your child’s friend for a play time. This is actually very interesting activity when child chooses friends oneself. If we allow kid to choose whom they want to invite, they invite friends with whom they get mixed very well, they have fun. Usually as a parent, we have to do very less intervention in this set up. These like-minded friends continue playing by switching games with mutual agreements, and have fun. This helps them to get socialized without any boundaries.
In this case, we can be just facilitator for the activity they choose by supporting to organize logistics, or advising to change activity if they choose something which is not possible in given environment.
Make Them Aware of Social Norms
Many times a person is rejected in social circle because of lack of social etiquettes. It’s our job to make our children aware of such etiquettes. This activity is a challenging activity if parents keep changing place of stay due to some reason e.g. job. In this case, parents have to envisage the target social etiquettes, create similar mock environment in house, and make children familiar with those. If this is not possible, then at least teaching children few basic etiquettes of new environment is necessary. This also makes children to gel easily with new friends. It is natural for children to shy away from a new person or environment. But if they have few etiquettes similarity, this barrier goes off. Slowly they start mixing. But etiquettes aspect can keep them out for longer. Hence it is better to make them aware. These etiquettes can start with simple greetings and go as long as behavior with other children.
Teach Them to be Kind to Others
When we practice loving, kindness and compassion, we are the first ones to profit. – Rumi
Being kind to our children will give us chance to connect with them. They are little angels in this harsh world. We have to be compassionate towards them. Teach the same to your children. Best way to teach kindness is parents practicing kindness. Children learn most of the things by observation and mostly by observing parents. Hence Kindness can be a culture in a family. In addition to this, when a child is with other children or siblings, this can be taught very well through simple actions like asking them to share, help, and speak kind words to others. This must be followed by asking them how they feel after this behavior. If child is not expressing anything, parents can tell how they feel after being kind to other people or animals even. Slowly this habit gets cultivated.
Teach Them to Handle Criticism
Some children can’t handle criticism, and that’s why they try to avoid social activities or prefer to be alone. Children also tend to get defensive in many cases, when they are criticized. Here best thing to teach is understanding reason behind criticism. “Is it to make child better?” “Will this make child learn this new thing where she is novice and that is why getting criticized?” “Is criticizing person actually not understanding the thing and that is why criticizing?” Similar analysis of criticism will help child to shift focus from the bad feeling arising from criticism, and target improvement from criticism by understanding criticism. Each criticism can be turned into an opportunity to improve and learn for a child. Sometimes criticism can also be turned down on lighter note after understanding message. This usually works with close friends.
Positive attitude towards criticism will help child to be happy in very negative environment also. Child will try to make things and oneself better and better through encouragement as well as criticism.
This is something that each parent must ensure in a child. Even if parents have to put some efforts to know if child has self-respect by doing simple tests, they should go ahead and do those. If you find a child lacks self-respect, and stays away from such incidents, where the self-respect is at stake, then there is definite need to put effort to bring out self-respect. Next question is how to create it.
If one feels valued and accepted, the confidence grows. Once child finds grown confidence. This is when self-respect starts growing. Hence the key is appreciate child in her activities and keep criticism at bay. Encourage child to do more and better along with appreciation for what has already been done. This will keep child focused and child will also know, whatever has been accomplished is right. This increases confidence. Also small responsibilities and dependencies given to child, help to give ownership feeling and subsequently feeling of accomplishment. Once such responsibility is accomplished, child feels very confident. Overall, achievements, encouragements, and appreciations create positivity in child, which further increases self-respect.
In short, child being part of a healthy social environment, helps her to grow better emotionally. This educates child with right cultural practices even in diverse social environments. As a parent, these techniques are definitely a help to avoid social isolation of child which introduces severe effects as the child grows into adult.