Social Skills

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Signs a child may be having difficulty with social skills:

  • Shy or uninterested in saying hello or goodbye to friends and family/ social anxiety

  • Limited or unusual eye contact

  • Seemingly unaware of others around them

  • Difficulty initiating conversation or joining in group play

  • Has trouble empathising or perspective taking

  • Difficulty reading/using body language or verbal/non-verbal cues

  • Difficulty listening and following instructions

  • Struggle to respond appropriately when asked to change their actions or behaviour

  • Unable to maintain a topic of conversation

  • Difficulty taking turns

  • Struggles to maintain appropriate personal space

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Social skills are the skills a person uses to communicate and interact with others on a daily basis. Social skills include verbal and non-verbal communication. Positive social interactions promote positive developmental outcomes. They are vital in enabling an individual to make and maintain positive interactions and relationships with others throughout their life from childhood into adulthood. The building blocks necessary for developing social skills include attention and concentration, expressive and receptive language, pre-language skills, play skills, self-regulation, executive functioning and planning and sequencing. Developing social skills in young children will help them better connect with others and live happier more meaningful lives.​

TIPS for developing your child's social skills at home

  • Play:  

    • Engage your child in imaginary and role-play using toys, lego, dolls, puppets etc.

    • Play board games where there is a winner and a loser and model positive thinking.

  • Emotions: 

    • Talk about your own emotions with your child and help them name theirs.

    • Connect with your child when they are having a big emotion and recognise the importance of self-care for your kids and yourself.

  • Praise: 

    • Build your child's confidence by pointing out times they behaved expectedly and celebrate them.

  • Reflection:

    • ​Self-reflect on expected and unexpected behaviours with your child in a positive and constructive way when everyone is feeling calm. Encourage your child to be curious about what happened, why and what it felt like.

  • Play Dates: 

    • Organise play dates for your child and help facilitate play to enable your child to have positive play experiences while learning in a safe environment.

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