It is frustrating to see your child struggling to make friends. It’s not just you who’s worried, but there are many kids out there who are socially shy. Interacting and developing social skills is crucial in today’s world. It plays a vital role in enhancing communication, make friends, develop business contacts overall speaking it paves their path for success and happiness.
What’s more in this digitally saturated world, where communication has gone online via emails and emojis, the value of human interaction skills has lost. It is a downside of the digital age where numerous kids are affected. The social skills that your kids will learn are by watching you. Watching how family members interact and that is how they role model what they see.
Socializing is an art that can be developed Some kids are born socially adaptive. They do not hesitate, feel awkward in approaching and making friends.
Why Social Skills Are Important?
Social skills enable a person to maintain a positive interaction with others. The same goes for the kids. The early the better. It is important that your child learn to have empathy, as this will allow him/her to respond in a caring and understanding way of how others feel.
How Can You Know If Your Child Has Problems With Social Skills?
It is not something that you will immediately come to know. Usually, kids after a certain age or when they start going to preschool will put out their likes, dislikes, their friends, whom they like to talk and so on. Below are some of the significant pointers, if your child is socially shy:
- Does not make an eye contact
- Fail to use polite forms of communications like thank you, please, sorry
- Unable to maintain the conversation of the topic
- Does not understands jokes/sarcasm
- Fail or fear to ask for clarifications
- Unable to respond towards anger, teasing, disappointments, and rejections
- Unable to modify their communication skills
- Show no or little interest in what others have to say
- Unable to start a conversation
- Prefers to remain silent unless asked
- Not asking proper questions
Developing social skills is not a magic bullet. Exposing your kids to interact with peers in preschool is one of the best ways to make them learn social skills. Preschool can offer these important social interactions where your child can pick-up and starts cultivating social skills.
Building A Strong Relationship With Your Preschoolers
Kids of all ages need care and warmth, someone who pays them attention and makes them feel safe. For a child who is not socially active, this place can help a lot in developing one.
The teachers at preschool know about this growing problem in the kids, hence they’ll teach the kids in a very subtle way.
- Your kid will probably be watching activities and starts participating in one. The first step is to remove the fear, where your child gradually feels comfortable.
- The teachers encourage children by using magical words like “good try” or “well done”. This helps in raising self-confidence in social situations.
- The teachers help recognize peer relationships. Making children understand how important it is.
- Talking with your child about his feelings, what things make him feel good or bad or when he is sad. This will help your child to open up with others.
- They also teach table manners like from chewing with one’s mouth closed, to politely asking for another serving. From answering “yes, thank you” or “no, thank you” when offered a snack, to handling utensils appropriately: nothing that happens at snack or lunchtime goes unobserved.
- The teachers are constantly looking out for the opportunity to impart social skills to the students.
- Teachers provide your child lots of opportunities for imaginary play, such as; dress-up, telephone play, playing shop, acting out stories and rhymes, playing with other children, constructing things with bricks, cut-outs, and dough, and helping around the house with simple chores.
- If your kid is arguing with his peers, the teacher teaches how to work out a solution to the problem. Once the kids are calm, they are encouraged to think in different ways for solving the problems.
Children with Autism disorder takes a long time to develop social skills. Role-playing strategies can be extremely helpful in letting the kid learn to make friends and enjoy a positive life.
Social Skills For Kids With Autism
Social skills will help your autistic kid to know how to react to different social situations. From making conversation in the family to making friends in school and enjoy a positive social life. Social skills will also help your child bond well with family relationships, improving your child’s mental health and quality of life.
What Kind Of Social Skills A Child With Autism Disorder Needs?
Your autistic child will benefit through the life transition when he/she develops:
- Emotional skills: Managing emotions, making others know how he/she feels, etc.
- Playing skills: Participating in various activities, sharing toys, taking turns, etc.
- Problem-solving skills: making decisions, dealing with conflicts, not getting into arguments, etc.
- Conversational skills: Helping with body language, gestures, knowing what to talk, etc.
Tips On Developing Social Skills For Kids Suffering From Autism
It is not easy for Autistic kids to develop and learn social skills. However, you can use the below-mentioned tips for your child:
Asking Kids To Participate In Role Playing
This is a simple yet very effective activity that helps in developing social skills in your child – Roleplay.
Role-play can help your child know, understand and develop the skills he needs to play with others.
For example, before your child’s friend comes to visit, you and your child could:
Do a role-play of how you greet them when you meet a friend. Suggest your child to make some communication about what the friend would like to play. Practice talking about asking what did her friend do in a day, the kind of activities or during weekends.
For older kids, you can try setting up situations that involve a social problem. Role-playing possible solutions, like discussing what to cook for dinner, taking turns on the computer, reading books, playing with suitable aged games with others.
Just like adults, kids too easily grasp visual things; be it is a painting, pictures, prompt cards, etc. This might help your child learn new skills or remember social skills. Depending on your child’s social learning needs, visual learning can prove to be extremely helpful.
Furthermore, you can use more storybooks which have lots of pictures. Also, you could use words or pictures as prompts for different conversation topics or you could use picture prompts to help them learn how to play a particular game.
For example, a sequence picture game where you have to set the pictures in order such as take the order, cook the food, serve the food, pay the bill.
Socializing With Other Kids
It is a bit tricky if your child is balancing his time with autistic kids and normally developing kids. Normal kids can be great role models who encourage good social skills in your child with ASD.
On the other hand, if your child shares abilities and interests with other autism affected children, this gives your child good social relationships and a sense of belonging.
Who your child socializes with plays a vital role in developing his social skills. How well other children are coordinating and what your child is learning matters the most.
And whoever your child socializes with, it is important that friendship is developed based on understanding and acceptance.
Participating In Various Activities
Practicing the playing skills with your autistic child whether you are using a toy or role-play can improve his social skills. For example, you can take him to a nearby grocery store and let him actually know the basics of shopping, invite a few of his friends so that you can have small gameplay arranged, or you can use the playset of grocery shopping, tea parties, and petrol station, etc.
Playing games together will help your children know what is bonding, turn-taking what is teamwork, following rules and it is okay to lose. helps your child practice turn-taking, coping with winning and losing, and following rules. Some of the games you can include hide and seek, tag, red light/green light, Simon says or just have a ball and playing with it. Older kids can play Jenga, card games, etc.
Teaching your child of taking turns and following the rules will help them develop and learn the skills. Praise him for his good behavior, for e.g. “good job”, “you can do better”, “amazing” or “Well done”. Practicing various social skills with different play situations will help boost self-confidence in your autistic child. You can take turns in playing ball in the park, or putting puzzle pieces together or playing a table game, etc.
When your child is slow in developing and learning social skills, especially with autism it makes it tough but it is not an impossible situation. Though there is no cure for autistic kids, helping your child understand and develop social skills is a great starting point for a rewarding life.
Parents and teachers should keep in mind that, with progress, you should use rewards for good behavior which encourages them and boost their self-confidence. It urges them to do more. The primary aim is that your child better and better at a skill such as basic communication, the behavior is more natural.
When a child is able to make a successful conversation and starts making new friends take is a step towards success as they are making efforts in living a positive life.