Friends are important to children as they make life more interesting and fun. All children go through definitive phases of social development. However, it is widely believed that the everyday experiences in relationships with their parents are fundamental to children’s developing social skills (Cohn, Patterson, & Christopoulous, 1991; Parke & Ladd, 1992).
Teaching children proper values i.e. what behavior is acceptable or not acceptable is vital to help the child develop into an integrated member of the community.
The necessary dynamics required in group play are co-operation, sharing, taking turns, problem solving and flexibility. The “bossy child” and the insecure or timid child often have difficulty integrating into a set group and require some guidance or direction.
STEPS PARENTS CAN TAKE TO ENHANCE CHILDREN’S SOCIAL SKILLS
• To assist learners to fully develop their social skills, parents should play with their children at their “level”. This activity should be fun, and the parent and child should be “equal” partners. In this way, parents can assist their very egocentric “bossy” /shy/timid child develop problem-solving skills to enact at school with their peers..
• Provide their children with opportunities to play with peers as often as possible. If parents do not have friends with children, set play dates with peers at school, as children learn crucial skills through play and observant parents are able to assess their child’s relational skills and assist when necessary.
• Talk to your child about social relationships and values as part of your normal, daily conversation. The chats should be about everyday events that include what happened to their peers throughout the day. Remember this conversation must be enjoyable and must not develop into a lecture session.
• Encourage a problem-solving approach so that your child will learn to consider various solutions and perspectives. Encourage role play and not only chat about possible solutions but also potential consequences of each course of action taken.
• Practice mutual respect as children who are encouraged to respect themselves and others will, through conversation, learn to think in terms of others’ feelings and needs. This results in children being more positive and pro-social with peers. Children who react more positively to peers and who problem solve by negotiation or compromise rather than through tattling, aggression, or verbal coercion (“I won’t play with you anymore” or “I won’t be your friend”) will experience a less challenging day at school.
• To assist learners to fully develop their social skills, parents should play with their children at their “level”. This activity should be fun, and the parent and child should be “equal” partners. In this way parents can assist their very egocentric “bossy” /shy/timid child develop problem solving skills to enact at school with their peers.
• Remember a positive attitude is vital for getting along with others. Children benefit when adults offer them positive ways to interpret the events that are a part of their daily lives
• Encourage your child to play for “fun” and not always become frustrated and angry when unable to win.
• Children are quick to mimic behavior and actions seen. As adults, we should display love and respect to others so that our children establish and display this lifestyle too.