As parents, we all want our children to be able to make their way in the world comfortably. Doing this means being able to behave acceptably in social situations and relate to others effectively.

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Every society has its own rules of what is acceptable and what is not. Helping your children develop socialization skills by teaching and modeling can be very beneficial and productive especially for preschoolers.

Making your child a part of fun-filled sociable experiences such as summer day camp makes it a whole lot easier for him or her to develop social skills. Day camp features activities that are geared toward improving skills like sharing, taking turns, working as part of a team, and treating others with kindness while under the watchful eyes of their counselors.

The question now is what other things can we do as parents to help our child develop social skills?

Before we move down to that let me ask a very important question.

Why do so many children have difficulty developing social skills?

There are a ton of reasons why children have difficulties in learning social skills, but in most cases, it is associated with children with development delays and/or executive function deficits or ADHD. Children with ADHD have difficulties with developing skills that require the frontal lobe part of the brain to be efficient - which includes some aspects of social skills. In most cases, they do not recognize social problems, and they also find it difficult to understand the perspective of other people.

Another reason is that the child may not have language skills to negotiate or resolve difficulties. This makes them feel as if they are not being listened to and as such results in poor social skills.

Poor social behavior may have also been modeled or reinforced, so children simply imitate this. However, sometime it can be related to pervasive development disorder such as Asperger’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.

Well, no matter the case or level of difficulty here are a few tips on how to help your child develop social skills. Children needs a lot of practice and reinforcement.

Arrange Play Dates

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Toddlers can benefit from having peers around; it will help your child learn about how to act when a friend comes over and how to be polite to peers. First, make sure you have enough toys for everyone as your child may have difficulty sharing his toys at first. You can also go over a few potential play activities ahead of time, role play, practice manners and remind him about taking turns and sharing.

Be Positive

One of the ways to help your kid develop social skills is by display positive and warm emotions at home as a parent. Your youngster is sure going to imitate this positive behavior which will, in turn, reflect on how he or she relates to others, warm, upbeat and with more ease. It has been proven that youngsters who experience a lot of positive emotions at home develop better social skills.

Parent-child Bond

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Now you know your child learns from you, in fact as a parent, your child's primary relationship is with you. This means when you are open with them and listen to them, you make them even more empathetic and aware of the feelings of others which makes them more likely to get along well with company. Since they look up to you, they become confident that they can rely on you for support and as such become emotionally secure and able to adapt to new social situations.

Don't Dismiss Negative Feelings

If your child returns home all upset because of an incident with peers, feel concerned and talk to him or her about it and in a relaxed way. Be supportive and also try to help your toddler figure out solutions in a positive manner, let him cry or vent and then do well to talk to him or her about emotions, encourage a confident attitude toward problem-solving in your youngster as this will help them become more self-controlled and socially adept.

With all these, you're sure going to help your child develop the social skills he or she needs to be able to get along at school, among peers or in other groups so that they can enjoy the benefits and advantages that communities provide. Being a good role model is an ultimate way to do this as your youngster will always look up to you and within a relatively period learn how to both make and keep friends.

If your child is still having difficulties after all the tips mentioned above have been exhausted, then you need to consult with a therapist.

For more information or to schedule appointment online, please visit our Child Counseling page or call us at 919-647-4600.

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