Positive social interactions will play a vital role in your child’s life, on both a personal level and in terms of their educational accomplishments. As soon as they are born, parents should aim to help their children develop strong social skills, while remembering that children are naturally more socially proficient than adults because they are yet to establish boundaries. I have collaborated with a to offer you the following advice.
Teaching your child to communicate with others in a healthy way is not as straightforward as it may seem. Of course, children learn how to behave by watching their parents and other important people around them (grandparents, teachers, siblings etc), but they also need to learn the difference between what’s appropriate or not. For example, when somebody else is speaking they should be that interrupting is rude and that they should listen until it’s their turn to talk.
With regards to playing with other children, they need to know that they should always be polite and share their toys. What’s more, you should teach them that teasing or bullying of any kind is unacceptable, perhaps living by the motto “treat people the way you would like to be treated”. Furthermore, they need to learn how to respond appropriately when someone is upset or angry, which may involve the ability to read body language and facial expressions.
If your child struggles to strike up a conversation with someone they’ve just met. You could practise some conversation starters together. Let them know that questions and compliments always work well, if they’re unsure what to say. For instance, “I really like your boots, where did you get them from?”. Something more generic also usually works, like a comment about the weather. As an example, your child could say “isn’t it a beautiful day today?”.
Try and surround your child with good company from an early age so that they are used to meeting new people and conversing with others. Essentially, the trick is to try and get them used to normal interactions by encouraging play dates. Allowing them to take part in extracurricular activities.
Social skills and autistic children
While the above points are vital in the nurturing and development of your child, these key areas are even more important for autistic children. With social interaction essential, autistic children find such social situations difficult and challenging. Whether you choose to aid and support your child at home, or when sending your child to a sen school Oxford, a supportive environment can allow them to feel secure and safe.
But how can you begin to ease any uncertainty that your child may be experiencing while working to improve their social skills?
When socialising your child, try to avoid stressful situations or triggers that are known to stress your child out. Start with the basics and slowly ease them into social situations, gradually extending time on each activity.
If attending a social gathering, bring along toys and distractions that you are confident that they will enjoy and explain the upcoming event and activities, perhaps going further to practice and roll play such events. This allows your child to visualise and prepare for the upcoming event. If all else fails, speak to your child’s school and ask for additional support and advice on how you too can begin to improve their social skills.