Best answers from a school and developmental psychologist, preschool teacher and mom
Social Skills Tips
A child’s social and emotional development are intertwined. If child is having difficulty in one area, it likely spills over to the other. Teaching emotion language and about emotions lays foundation for social development.
Social competence in children is described most simply as their ability to play while keeping friends. If your child’s play isn’t going well, it’s good to look what is happening with social skills.
It is best to coach social skills when all is well. Don’t wait til you are on the heels of an upset, coach social skills over snack or when you are tucking them in at night.
It’s fine to coach social with you, but it’s best to practice with peers. This means have playdates, go to the playground looking for others to connect with, join sports and other group activites.
When there are social conflicts, it’s good to step in, but let children do as much of the actual problem solving as they can. Provide guidance, walk them through decision making.
Teaching social skills can take a long time and a lot of repeated effort. Try to vary what and how you say or present things each time, come up with new stories or examples.
With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.
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