Today’s kids are growing up in a world that’s more connected than ever before. Social media, 24-hour news cycles, and constant access to technology have changed how kids interact with the world.
But ironically, the technology that’s supposed to bring us closer together may contribute to a growing social skills crisis. A recent study found that kids ages 6-10 spend less time socializing and more time in front of screens.
Thankfully, there are ways to help kids develop social skills and prepare them for success in a connected world. From letting them play on a Treehouse playground to teaching them how to have a tough conversation, here are seven social skills for kids that are essential for their success:
1. Communication Skills
This might seem like a no-brainer, but communication skills are more important than ever in the digital age. Social media and text messaging make it easy for kids to hide behind a screen and avoid face-to-face interactions.
The value of good communication skills is practically endless. They’re essential for everything from building relationships to networking to public speaking.
In fact, a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that communication skills were the most important factor in landing a job after college.
How can you help your child develop communication skills?
One way is to encourage them to put away their screens and interact with people face-to-face. This can be as simple as going for a walk in the park or having a family game night.
You can also help your child practice communication skills by practicing different role-playing scenarios, such as ordering food at a restaurant or asking a teacher for help. Start by modeling the behavior yourself, then have your child practice it in a safe and supportive environment.
2. Emotional Regulation
In the age of social media, it’s more important than ever for kids to learn how to regulate their emotions. With so much information at their fingertips, it’s easy for kids to get overwhelmed or even trigger-happy.
Emotional regulation is all about healthily managing emotions. This includes being aware of how emotions affect behavior, using coping mechanisms to deal with difficult emotions, and communicating effectively about emotions.
Emotional regulation skills can help children prevent tantrums, meltdowns, and power struggles.
How can you help your child develop emotional regulation skills?
One way is to model healthy emotional regulation yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, talk about it calmly and constructively. This will show your child that it’s okay to have negative emotions and there are healthy ways to deal with them.
You can also help your child practice emotional regulation by teaching them specific coping mechanisms. For example, if they’re feeling overwhelmed, teach them how to take deep breaths or count to 10.
3. Conflict Resolution
In a constantly connected world, kids are bound to have disagreements with friends, classmates, and even family members. That’s why it’s so important for kids to learn how to resolve conflicts healthily.
Conflict resolution skills include communication, empathy, and problem-solving. With these skills, kids can avoid arguments and find mutually beneficial solutions to disagreements.
How can you help your child develop conflict resolution skills?
You can also help your child practice conflict resolution by role-playing different scenarios. For example, you can act out a disagreement between siblings or classmates.
Have your child practice using conflict resolution skills whenever they play at a playground, get into a disagreement with a friend, or have a disagreement at home. Remember, exposing them to healthy conflict resolution can help prevent serious problems later in life.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s an essential social skill for every person, but it’s especially important for children.
Empathetic kids are more likely to be kind and compassionate towards others. They’re also more likely to be successful in school and their careers. Why? Because they’re able to see both sides of every issue and find common ground.
How can you help your child develop empathy?
One way is to encourage your child to put themselves in other people’s shoes. This can be as simple as asking them how they think a friend or classmate is feeling. You can also read stories together and talk about the characters’ emotions.
You can also help your child practice empathy by teaching them active listening skills. This means paying attention to what someone is saying and trying to see the situation from their perspective. Check out how to be more empathetic to learn more.
For any social group to function, cooperation is critical. Whether it’s a family, a team, or a classroom, people have to be able to work together towards a common goal.
Cooperation skills include communication, compromise, and teamwork. With these skills, kids can learn how to be supportive members of any social group. Start your child early on the path to cooperation by teaching them these important social skills.
How can you help your child develop cooperation skills?
One way is to encourage your child to share their toys and materials with friends. This will help them learn how to compromise and consider others’ needs.
From taking turns on a swing or playground spinning equipment to sharing a crayon, there are endless opportunities for kids to practice cooperation. Of course, keep an eye out for bullying among children with parenting tips on bullying.
You can also help your child practice cooperation by teaching them how to work as part of a team. This could be as simple as playing a game of tag together or working on a project at school.
As they age, you can encourage them to join a sports team or participate in extracurricular activities. This will give them even more opportunities to hone their teamwork skills.
Assertiveness is the ability to stand up for yourself in a respectful way. It’s not about being aggressive or pushy – it’s about being confident and honest.
Assertiveness is an important social skill for kids because it helps them set boundaries and stick up for themselves. It also teaches them how to be respectful of others’ boundaries.
How can you help your child develop assertiveness?
Being assertive doesn’t mean being rude or bossy. It’s about communicating your needs clearly and respectfully.
You can help your child practice assertiveness by teaching them how to use “I” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You’re being annoying,” they could say, “I need some space.”.
You can also encourage your child to practice assertiveness in their everyday interactions. For example, they can ask a friend to stop hugging them if they’re not comfortable. Remind them that it’s okay to say no – and that they don’t owe anyone an explanation for their decision.
7. Emotional Intelligence
If you’ve ever been around a child who can read and react to emotions effectively, you know how important emotional intelligence is. Often linked with social and emotional learning, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions.
Kids with high emotional intelligence are often successful in social situations. They’re also more likely to do well in school and in their careers. In fact, a study by the Carnegie Institute found that emotional intelligence is twice as important as IQ when it comes to success in life.
How can you help your child develop emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness. You can help your child develop this social skill by teaching them to identify their own emotions. This can be as simple as labeling their feelings out loud (“I’m feeling happy right now”) or writing them down in a journal.
You can also help your child practice emotional intelligence by teaching them how to read other people’s emotions. This social skill is important for kids because it helps them understand how the people around them are feeling. Therefore, they can respond in a way that is respectful and considerate.
Raising your child to be a social butterfly takes time and effort. But it’s worth it! By teaching your child these social skills, you’ll set them up for success in all areas of their life. Remember, social skills are just like any other skill – they can be learned and practiced. So don’t hesitate to start working on them with your child today!