Renowned author and psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore once said: “The path of development is a journey of discovery that is clear only in retrospect, and it’s rarely a straight line.”
Social development in children is a topic that’s constantly under discussion, and every child’s unique journey has something new to teach us. Let’s look at a couple of basic teaching methods:
Commend good social behaviour
Acknowledging and complimenting even the smallest display of good social behaviour ultimately acts as positive reinforcement and self esteem booster.
Practical example: “I’m so proud of you for helping me organise this drawer!”
Allow them to problem-solve
Problem-solving is a valuable skill that also aids in the development of other skills like reasoning, logic, creativity, self-control and decision-making.
Practical example: Ask your child “how would you fix this?” rather than fixing it for them.
Help them verbalise feelings
Translating emotions into words teaches children to identify and deal with their own feelings, and read emotional signals shown by other children.
Lead by example
Use everyday interactions to demonstrate appropriate social behavior and gently point it out to your child, detailing why it was considered “good”.
Practical example: “Did you see how that lady smiled when I told her she looks pretty?”
Encourage active involvement
Enlisting the help of your child shows a fair amount of trust, which in turn inspires confidence in his own abilities.
Practical example: While cooking, give your child simple tasks like fetching ingredients from the pantry.
Play the fear away
Spending time with other children is one of the most effective ways to boost social development in children. However don’t leave them to their own devices – set the pace with activities that encourage interaction.
Practical example: Provide a box full of dress-up gear for them to play with or set up a puppet show.
While children are bound to respond differently to methods of boosting social development, there’s one fact that cannot be denied: A loving and nurturing relationship between parent and child will always form the foundation of healthy social development.