Parenting Tips

10 Easy Ways to Help Improve Your Child’s Social Skills: Tips for Parents8 min read

Have you ever found yourself out in a playground full of kids running around, having fun, but no matter what you do, your child won’t move an inch from you? 

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your child out to play, and they would naturally socialize with other kids?

 

Well, unfortunately, socializing doesn’t come easy for all children. It’s a learned skill that you’ll have to teach your child through lots of practice and patience.

 

If you’re looking for a simple yet practical guide on how to help improve your child’s social skills, this post is for you.

For the next few minutes, we’ll go through the best techniques to get your child to socialize more and the most practical way to help our kid get out of their shell.

 

Okay. Let’s get to it.

 

Here are a few simple tips to help your child become more social and confident.

Tip 1. Increase Your Child’s Exposure To The Outside World

The best way to teach your child how to be sociable is by showing them how it’s done, practically. If you go out with your child as often as possible, they will learn to be outgoing by observing you.

 

Tag your child along when you run errands. Let your child see how you interact with different people from diverse walks of life. The next time you want to meet a friend for lunch, go with your child and have them see how you relate and bond with your friends. 

Tip 2. Talk To Your Child About The Things They Like

This is a great way to get your child talking about their interests and hobbies.

 

When you speak to your child about the things they like, it gives them a chance to talk about something that makes them feel good, which will, in turn, boost their confidence and make them feel more comfortable around other people.

 

The more they feel free talking to you about their interests, the more confidently they’ll share the same with other kids.

 

And here’s the kicker.

 

By encouraging your child to talk about their hobbies, you’re slowly helping them build their emotional intelligence by boosting their self-image.

Tip 3. Have Your Child around Their Peers

If you’ve been wondering, “How to build social skills in childhood?” I’ve got one answer for you, have your child around other kids. They can be kids from the neighborhood or a playgroup. 

 

If your child has a tough time socializing with other children, the best solution is to have them around other kids as much as possible. They don’t have to join in on the activity right on, but just being present and seeing how other kids play with others is enough motivation. 

Tip 4. Encourage, But Don’t Force Them To Participate In Group Activities

Picture this. You enroll your child in an exciting extracurricular activity like an art or music lesson. Instead of participating, they end up sitting alone in a corner or glued to your side the entire time. 

 

You start to worry that your child will never make friends, and they’ll end up being that socially awkward child that no one wants to hang around with. And so you force your child to join the group, with a few threats here and there about how you’ll never sign them up for a new activity ever again.

Does that sound familiar?

Tip 5. Encourage Your Child To Interact With People They Don’t Know

This is one of the most critical aspects of helping your child become more social. It can be challenging for children to approach new people, especially if they’re withdrawn or anxious about the situation.

 

And by new people, I don’t mean random strangers, but people your child might not have met yet. So, think of your gold old, child-free friends or familiar faces in the neighborhood or park.

 

A few examples of encouraging phrases you can use to help your kid interact with people they don’t know include:

 

  • “I see that girl over there. She’s looking at you. Do you want to go say hi?”
  • “Hey, that boy is waving at us! Do you want to go say hi?”
  • “Look at that little girl dancing over there! Let’s go say hi and find out what music she’s dancing to.”

Tip 6. Encourage Them To Speak Up When They Have Something To Say

If your child is shy or quiet, encourage them to speak up when they have something to say. It’s best to allow your child to share their thoughts at home as much as possible. 

 

Once they’re confident in expressing themselves in an environment where they feel safe and loved, then they’d have an easier time speaking up around new faces.

 

For example, if you are in a group of people and your child wants to say something, then encourage them to do so by saying things like “Go ahead and tell us what you think” or “You can share with your friends your new ideas.”

Tip 7.Teach Your Child How To Make Friends

One effective way to improve your child’s social skills is by teaching them how to make friends. You can encourage them to show interest in other people besides their siblings and family members.

 

Not only will this help your child socialize more, but it will help them think of creative ways to engage their friends. The best way you can help your child show interest in other people is by asking them questions about others, such as “What do you think of that person’s coat?”

 

Or, “What do you think about that girl’s shoes?”

 

By having them answer such questions, you’re shifting their focus to other people and away from themselves. Which is a great tactic to help kids open up since the spotlight is not on them but someone else.

 

Makes sense, right?

Tip 8. Refrain From Calling Your Child Shy

People love labels. It makes it easier to relate to other people and situations. But when it comes to parenting, labeling your child as “shy” isn’t the best thing to do.

 

Your intention might be good – you think that by identifying your child’s personality trait, you can better understand them and help them grow. But in reality, calling your child “shy” can do more harm than good.

 

Here are 5 reasons why you should stop calling your child shy:

  1. Reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with being shy.
  2. Limits your child’s ability to cope with social situations.
  3. Makes your child feel like they have to change who they are.
  4. It can make your child feel like they’re not good enough.
  5. Hinders your ability to see your child’s strengths.

Tip 9. Let Your Child Know That It’s Okay If They Don’t Have Many Friends

It’s healthy to have a social life. And as adults, we know that making friends might not be easy for everyone, and it’s the same case for our kids. 

 

We need to assure our children that it’s okay if they don’t have 10 friends to speed dial for a playdate. Let them know that it’s okay if they don’t have many friends at the moment or if they don’t have a lot in common with other kids at school or in extracurricular activities. They will find their “people” eventually!

 

And the goal shouldn’t be on the number of friends they have but encouraging them to step out of their comfort bubble a bit and socialize more. 

Tip 10. Manage Your Expectations

As much as you want to improve your child’s social interaction, it would be best if you manage your expectations.

 

If your child turns out to be active, talkative, and playful once they get used to an environment, that’s amazing. And if your child requires more time to get acclimated to a new activity or new friends, it’s okay. Kids are different.

 

And just because their sibling seems more outgoing doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your child. It’s perfectly normal for kids to have different personality types.

 

You can’t change your child’s personality, so don’t try.

 

What you can do is help them learn to manage their anxiety, which will help them feel more comfortable in social situations.

 

So before you get discouraged, or start comparing your child to their siblings or friends, remember that it will take time for them to adjust – and it’s okay if they don’t adjust at all!

The 10 Best Ways to Help Your Child Get Social

I’m confident that if you apply the above tips to your child, you’ll significantly improve their social skills.

 

But remember that it takes time for children to break from their cocoon and show their bubbly, talkative side, so patience is vital over here.

 

Not every child will be the life and soul of the party, and that’s normal and great. Even as you encourage your child to socialize more, it’s important to appreciate their personality and let them warm up to people and new activities at their own pace.

 

What tips have you used to improve your child’s social skills? I’d love to know about your experience. 

 

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at hello@wanjirumwangi.com.

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