When it comes to our children’s performance in school, as parents, we are almost always focused on their academic progress. Although that of course is critical, it is also beneficial for us to ensure that they are getting the most out of their schooling, and that includes being socially proficient. Whether your children have issues with their social development or are just naturally shy, there are several ways that parents can teach social maturity.
It is best to start teaching your children social graces before they start school. For example, you can take them to the park where they can interact with other children while you sit, observe, and possibly strike up a chat with their parents. You should be looking for a few things as your children mingle with others: are they sharing, actively involved, and laughing? These are crucial in friendly interactions. Use what you have observed to talk with your children about how they can improve their behavior during the next social event.
If your children are in school but still having challenges interacting with their peers, consider how to assist them. Students are surrounded by the same people every day and having a familiar environment helps many children thrive socially. A great way for your children to actively meet new people and socialize with friends, even in a new environment, is for them to join a club. Clubs are smaller groups of people who have similar interests and who interact with each other based on these common interests. My sons participated in many different clubs based on their interests, such as sports clubs, chess clubs, church clubs and music clubs. And, they developed long lasting friendships that exist to this day from those clubs.
Another way for children to develop socially is working with others on homework. Often, teachers assign projects to a small group of students. The students in those small groups then get together and plan and prepare what to do for each project. By helping each other, friendships are developed. My nephew is in 9th grade and one of his teachers often assigns group projects. He and his fellow students meet frequently and after they have dedicated time to their project, my sister takes the group out for a treat. All during this time, social skills are being developed, as well as academic skills.
Parents have tremendous influences on their children’s lives. When speaking with your friends, family members, or even strangers, be sure to display kindness, compassion, and confidence. Children learn best from what they see and hear. Be the best example to your children that you can be!
A well-rounded child is not just one who excels academically. Social growth and maturity are key to a child’s ultimate success in life as well.