One of the most important skills you can teach your kids is how to positively interact with others. This is essential not only for their success in achieving goals and building healthy relationships, but for the social, mental, and emotional health that comes with those good relationships. Here are a few ways you can best help your kids get along with their peers!
Teach Them Communication Skills
According to the Pillars Christian Learning Center, interactions start with communication, both verbal and nonverbal. Talk with your child regularly—not just giving them instructions or talking at them, but rather having a real conversation with them in which they relate stories to you about their day, books they are reading or shows they are watching, things that they notice about the world around them, including anything that allows them to practice going through a timeline and including or describing key details for clarity of meaning. Ask clarifying and confirming questions to keep their minds engaged and to demonstrate to them how effective back-and-forth should look! And, have conversations about conversations. Point out what they do well and what could help them, including through body language and nonverbal cues (such as looking people in the eye while speaking to them, not fidgeting, and reading facial expressions.)
Help Them Manage Emotions
Helping your child learn their own emotions will help them be more in control of their reactions to stimuli, and will help them learn to read people and react appropriately to what they need. Little Adventures suggests that you should help your child identify the emotions they’re feeling at any given time. This is a good practice especially during high stress situations, when your child is upset about something or excited about something. In addition, help them develop ways to cope with and manage heightened emotions in positive ways, such as breathing exercises.
Give Them Opportunities to Practice
Without opportunities to practice communicating and handling emotions, those social skills will not stick with your child! Involve or enroll your child in group activities that they enjoy. Sports teams help them learn social skills and develop friendships while also teaching them good teamwork. Clubs can allow them to participate in hobbies while interacting with kids who have similar likes. Even daycare groups can be a great space for kids to explore and connect with others. The more socializing situations they are put in, the more experiences they will have to help them develop the skills to get along well with others.
Your child will greatly benefit from these and more activities that encourage them to listen, speak, and act with respect towards their peers. Getting along with others starts with your guidance, so give them the best direction you can!
Check out this article on what you can do to instill confidence in your teen daughter!