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Teaching Social Skills to Children

Aastha Dogra
Social skills should be developed in children from an early age. This way, they find it easier to interact with people when they grow up. In this article, we'll take a look at some tips that will help you to teach these skills to your children.
Social skills are skills a person needs to interact or communicate with another. These skills include speaking, active listening, delegation, persuasion, etc. Mastering these skills determines the overall development of a person.
A person who scores low on social skills is bound to find it difficult to be part of a team, to interact with others, and to eventually be a leader. Poor social skills affect both, a person's personal and professional life.
 Inculcating these skills in children ensures that they learn to interact with others at an early age. Let's see how we can teach these skills to children.

Games and Activities

For Teaching 'Co-operation'
Have the kids stand in a circle and draw a circle in the middle with a chalk. As soon as you whistle, the kids have to run and accommodate themselves in the circle. Once the kids do that, make another smaller circle in between the previously drawn circle.
Now, the kids have to accommodate themselves in this one. While doing so, the kids will have to hold each other or make suggestions as to how to fit it. Thus, by undertaking such team games, you can focus on improving their communication and co-operation.
For Teaching 'Listening' and 'Taking Turns'
Sometimes, children don't pay attention to what others say in a class. So, inculcating active listening skills becomes very essential. Make all the children sit in a circle. Starting from anyone, ask each child to speak individually about his favorite hobby.
Suppose the first child is done speaking about his hobby, and it's the next kid's turn. At this point, the 'next kid' has to first speak about the first child's hobby and then about his. If he fails to do so, other children can help. This ensures that all the students hear out each other properly.
For Teaching 'Appreciating Others' and 'Positive Communication'
Many kids have a habit of bullying others and putting them down. To put a stop to this, here's an interesting activity. Make the kids stand in a circle once again and ask them to tell one thing that they like about any other child in the class.
These things can include someone's handwriting, someone's singing ability, etc. After telling the quality, the child has to change place with the one he just 'appreciated'. Now, it is this child's turn to say something good about another child.

Role Plays

To teach children how to be polite and courteous, you can have two children enact a scene. In this scene, one child gives the another child a book, who responds by politely saying 'thank you'. Or, a scene where a child accidentally steps on another one's toe, and immediately apologizes by saying 'sorry'.
As a teacher or a parent, for child behavior modification, you yourself can guide a child how to greet, talk, and become friends with a person. Likewise, how to help others, be a good friend, be respectful, etc., can all be taught effectively by planning creative role plays.

Role Modeling

Children often imitate the behavior and communication patterns followed by their parents and teachers. So, for improving social skills, the adults should make sure that they are themselves polite, courteous, co-operative, positive, and helpful people.
Inculcating social skills was never this easy, was it?