Have you ever thought about the importance of teaching young children social skills?
Social skills form the foundation of our ability to make lifelong, personal connections. They are the basis for our home, community and school relationships which tie us to other people.
Now that we are beginning a new year, let’s focus on the importance of school relationships. School is a great venue where children in preschool and kindergarten learn cooperation, develop friendships, improve self-esteem and establish positive outlooks while ultimately improving kids’ health.
How can you help your child – with or without special needs – improve his/her social skills this year?
- Smile and initiate conversation. Ask your child to smile and greet one new child each day. Just say, “Hi” while making eye contact. This is often enough to reduce the pressure and begin some conversations that build toward relationships.
- Teach your child that conversations are a 2-way street. Just as your child would like her opinions heard, her new friend would like to discuss her thoughts and feelings.
- Asking others polite questions about themselves is a great way for your child to learn about his new friend and look for common interests for building friendships. Teach your child how having others talk about themselves is a good way for your child to help others feel important and valued. It also removes pressure from your child because he does not have to carry the conversation. In time, he will begin to feel more comfortable around these students and interacting with others.
- Remind your child to always be sensitive to others’ reactions. She should not only think of herself but also consider the feelings of others. Remember, empathy begins home and children mimic the actions of their family members.
- Take risks. Putting yourself out there to meet new people can be scary – for children and adults alike. Encourage your child to take small steps and don’t be upset if every interaction isn’t perfect. The important part is your child is trying to make new friends.
On behalf of Fitness for Health, I wish you and your child a happy, new year filled with new friends!
Do you have children in preschool and/or kindergarten? Would you like them to develop stronger social skills that will help them succeed in elementary school and throughout their lives? Try our Think It, Move It program beginning on this Friday, February 3, and ending on Friday, March 10!
In this program where Fitness for Health is partnering with Sue Abrams, M.A. CCC-SLP, of the Center for Communication and Learning, children will learn and practice core social concepts while on the move. Skills will be introduced in a fun and motivating way, encouraging children to improve their social thinking skills and enhance their motor development. Learn more here. To register for Think It, Move It, click here.
Does your son have low self-esteem? Does your daughter experience difficulty while trying to make new friends? Does your child have special needs? Fitness for Health can help your child blossom.
At Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic fitness facility in the Washington, DC, Area created to improve adult and fitness for kids, you get a complete team—including pediatric fitness specialists, physical therapists and occupational therapists—working together to create a full-service plan of care that’s expertly tailored to your child’s developmental, skill and comfort levels. As a parent, you’re involved every step of the way.
Each plan of care combines evidence-based, therapeutic techniques with our innovative exergaming equipment—from a 30-foot trampoline to a 3-D virtual reality gaming system—to help your child improve his/her motor skills, fitness and self-esteem in the most fun way imaginable. Learn how Fitness for Health can help your child reach his/her full potential.