Ways to Support Your Child’s Social Skills After the Pandemic
After experiencing three years of ups and downs, twists and turns during the pandemic, many children and teens (and adults!) may feel out of sync with their social skills.
Following the stay at home order and remote learning for 1 year or more, depending on the family’s health situation and choices, many children have fallen out of practice with their day to day social skills. Additionally, the significantly increased use of technology during that time for both academics and socialization has also affected their social skills.
What can Parents due to help rebuild and strengthen their child’s social skills?
The best way, is to model appropriate social skills for your child. This includes verbal and non-verbal skills. Point out the skills to your child as you use them.
- Discuss the importance of and model warm and respectful greetings when you meet and depart from people, such as “Hi, how are you?”, “It’s nice to see you” and “Bye, take care”.
Remind children that the interaction is an opportunity for people to connect and express care for one another.
Draw their attention to the importance of using positive non-verbal skills during social interactions.
Remind kids to prioritize and focus on the social interaction.
- Encourage them to face the other person while speaking and to share eye contact demonstrating care and attention and supports good communication.
- Encourage them to listen attentively to each other’s thoughts and take turns speaking.
Remind them to be aware of and to manage impulses and distractions.
- Resist multitasking. Our brains work best when we focus on one task at a time.
- For example, resist reaching for and checking the phone or tablet. Barring an emergency, the device can likely wait a few minutes until the social interaction is complete.
Educate that quality social interactions can strengthen interpersonal relationships and each other’s self-esteem.
- When we feel good, we are often more productive, at school and play, and feel more satisfied.
Encourage generalization of these skills to home, school, and other environments.
- Practicing focused attention and resisting distractions outside of the classroom may also help improve the child’s focus, sustained attention, and management of distractions at home, inside the classroom, on homework, and even extracurricular activities.
– Dr. Jabeen Ali