Developing social skills is one of the key aspects of a child’s development and impacts how they progress through nursery, school and into adult life. Studies have shown that the most important skills a child needs to learn at preschool are social skills, including cooperation, self-control, confidence and communication.
Improving your child’s social skills can be a daunting task for parents and one that requires work. Attending nursery is a great way of building social skills in toddlers as they get to interact with many different children and adults.
As experts in helping children communicate and develop their skills, we’ve listed some of our top tips for improving your toddler’s social skills.
Teach them emotions
Emotions are one of the vital foundations for developing good social skills and being able to understand your own feelings and have empathy for others. Research has found that children with emotional intelligence are more likely to pay attention, perform well at school and develop positive relationships.
As a parent, it’s important to set an example and communicate when you are feeling different emotions such as happy and sad. A good way of teaching emotions is by playing a game with flashcards or making faces and asking your child to imitate them.
As they begin to identify which facial expressions are tied to different emotions, they will have more empathy for others around them and in social environments such as at a nursery.
Encourage them to play cooperatively
Developing social skills through play is highly effective but it can be difficult for some children to play cooperatively. Some children naturally work well with others but others need to develop teamwork and communication skills to do this.
There are many activities which can be used to encourage cooperative play including construction games, art projects, board games and follow the leader. They all enable children to develop their emotions, their ability to work in a team and problem-solving skills.
At Little Angels, we encourage our children to play together cooperatively and ensure that every child feels involved. You can also encourage this type of play at home through simple activities, such as building a lego structure together or a puzzle.
Make eye contact with them
Making eye contact with others is an important aspect of good conversation skills and lets someone know you are paying attention. Toddlers can sometimes feel fearful or nervous and avoid eye contact with others.
We believe it’s a good idea to encourage your child to do this from a young age to build their confidence and help them understand the emotions of others.
Let them interact with new people
Attending nursery gives children the freedom to play with children that they aren’t familiar with. It’s important to have these interactions from a young age as it will prepare them for starting school and meeting new people.
Outside of nursery, you can also encourage your child to socialise with others by going to the playground or by taking part in sports activities. As they come across children with different personalities, they will improve their understanding of emotions and how to get along with others.
Encourage them to listen
As well as being able to communicate, being able to listen is vital. It’s also one of the main ways that children can learn in their early years. A study found that up to 80 per cent of learning in the early years is verbal, so listening is fundamental to their development.
At Little Angels, we encourage our children to listen by taking part in many different activities such as french language classes and cooking classes. Through activities that engage and interest them, they are able to develop their listening comprehension skills and increase their attention span.
You can also encourage this at home by reading stories together and setting an example as a good listener. Since toddlers are so observant, they will pick up how you respond when someone is speaking to you and will follow suit.
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At Little Angels, we have over 10 years of childcare experience and understand the importance of building long term trusting relationships with our children. Our exciting range of activities ensures that your child is always engaged and learning with us.