How do we Develop Social Skills as Children?

To live a healthy life, one must make sure that they are healthy not only physically, but mentally as well. One major component of one’s psychological health is their social skills. Social skills refer to our general ability to communicate and interact with other individuals. Such social skills develop at a young age, and are critical to our development as adolescents and to our mental health throughout our entire lives. Without proper social skills, one can end up feeling antagonized, or isolated, and may find it difficult to make friends, find spouses, or otherwise have a better quality of life. In this article, we will discuss how these social skills develop in children, and how you can ensure the proper development of such social skills in your kids.

A child typically develops their social skills throughout the first few years of their childhood. This is due to the rapid development of the child’s brain as it learns the various behaviors relevant to its life. During these years, they learn various social cues both by observing the behavior of those around them, as well as through interaction with other individuals. Said social cues include one’s ability to understand language, to express themselves, as well as to recognize and emulate various facial and bodily gestures. By learning all these social cues, the child will be able to properly interact with other individuals, and, in the future, will be able to find friends with relative ease. This also helps children learn more efficiently, as they are able to communicate more easily with their teachers.

Interaction with other children is especially critical to the development of social skills, as such interaction allows the child to practice speaking to other people. Such practices allow the child to become more comfortable with interacting with others and makes future interactions much easier. Thus, while your child is still very young, it is best to have them regularly interact with other children around their age. Ideally, one should arrange frequent playdates with other children, as this gives the child sufficient practice with interacting with others to give them good social skills.

Speaking with your children often is also another way to improve your child’s social skills, as this gives your child a larger vocabulary and gives them more experience with understanding language and expressing themselves. Adults should also commentate on what they are doing, or what is happening around them, as it helps children better understand the meaning of certain words. One can also supply children with various props, such as toys, which can help stimulate a conversation between them regarding the prop. Finally, it is important to ensure your children are able to speak to a variety of people about a variety of subjects. Having your child speak to only a few people (such as their parents) can stunt child development, as it deprives said children of experience with peer-to-peer interaction, which may make it difficult for them to make friends in the future.

Overall, it is important for a child to develop social skills while they are young, as this is when their brain is the most flexible and thus is best able to absorb the knowledge of the social cues needed to properly interact with different people. It is thus critical to make sure that your child can get the amount of social interaction they need to develop these skills. By ensuring that your child frequently interacts with others, both with their parents and with other children, you can give your child excellent social skills which will make them more comfortable interacting with others in the future.

References:

“FPG MTBT.” 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers | FPG MTBT, www.mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/more-baby-talk/10-ways-promote-language-and-communication-skills-infants-and-toddlers.

The Importance of Communication Skills in Young Children. www.hdi.uky.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ResearchBrief_Summer2013.pdf.

CSEFEL: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, www.csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/wwb/wwb8.html.

George Galanis