Improving your child’s social skills can boost their self-esteem and help them to feel as though they belong in a group. Some children are naturally gregarious and have no problems with socializing while other children may become too boisterous. If you are the parent of a child who is shy or withdrawn, then you may need to put them in situations that feel safe enough for socializing. Alternatively, children who have particular forms of autism may struggle with socializing appropriately without ostracizing their peers. Social skills include:
• Facial expressions
• Hand gestures
• Vocal range
• Eye contact or no eye contact
• Maintaining correct physical distance
Learning what Types of Social Skills are Appropriate
An important part of learning social skills is adjusting to a particular situation. A toddler will not understand that talking in a loud voice is wrong during a religious service but is acceptable at a playground. A child with Asperger’s Syndrome is unable to make eye contact, but an adult with the condition can learn to compensate by looking at someone’s forehead instead to give the impression that there is eye contact.
Infants Begin to Socialize at Birth
Babies begin to socialize with others as soon as they are born and learn what is acceptable by the response from their parents. A baby that coos quietly is likely to get a better response from a parent than a baby who cries loudly constantly. When parents react in the wrong way to an infant’s sounds, the baby may learn to socialize incorrectly.
Children can Improve Social Skills with Therapy
Children may learn poor communication skills in their home and transfer those behaviors to the classroom by talking loudly or getting too close to other students while talking. It is possible for children to change their social skills with the right training and modeling from their teachers and parents. Children can watch DVDs that show appropriate and inappropriate social skills before trying to improve their own behavior at home, in school or on the playground.