By: Kacy Leuck, M.S., CCC-SLP
Most of the world is starting to go back to “normal” after the whirlwind of COVID-19 changed many of our lives in countless ways. By far one of the biggest aspects that took a hit was our social lives.
Think about the opportunities for social interaction that were suddenly taken away from all of us, especially children. Kids were no longer seeing their friends at school, playing with friends at the park, or going out in the community to have fun with their families.
There are potentially many children still feeling the effects of this lack of socialization, so here are some ways that you can help encourage social skills development!
Attend Community Events
One of the best ways to help your child gain stronger social skills is to get them involved in events within your community. Community events and activities can include anything such as team sports, story time, craft time at the library, swimming at the community pool, or visiting the zoo. It can even be as simple as going to the park or setting up a playdate with a neighbor kid.
All of these events and activities involve opportunities for your child to interact socially with others. This can be especially beneficial for children who are not regularly around other children their age, such as those who are homeschooled or are not yet school-age.
Play With Your Child
By simply playing with your child, you can help them improve their social skills. This can be through turn-taking games, pretend play, or any other fun activity that your child enjoys. Playing games can be beneficial for your child’s social skills in many ways, including learning how to take turns, how to be a good sport, and how to communicate and converse with others in a way that is socially appropriate.
A few games that are helpful for targeting good communication and social skills are “Hedbanz”, pretend play (e.g., house or school), and “Apples to Apples”. Not only will your children boost their communication skills, but they’ll also have plenty of fun!
Read Stories Together
Reading stories with your child can be an awesome way for you to talk to them about conversational skills and social skills, including perspective-taking, conflict resolution, and emotions. While reading through a story, stop and talk about how the characters might be feeling and if your child would react the same way that the characters did.
You can also give your child the opportunity to come up with a solution for any conflicts that may occur throughout a story. For example, if the story includes two characters in conflict with each other (e.g., one character is being mean to another), talk through some ideas for how BOTH characters can handle the situation. You can work on these skills with almost ANY book.
Grow Your Child’s Social Skills With Help From ETLC!
These are just a few of the most enjoyable and natural ways that your child can boost their social skills! If you find you need extra support, Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center can help!
Our specialists work with your child to provide one-on-one support regarding the social skills that they are struggling with, as well as opportunities to practice these learned skills in a safe and supportive environment.
Contact us today to get started!
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131