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4 Easy Ways to Increase a Child’s Sociability

by Lori Sciame | September 30th, 2015 | Elementary, Social
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elementary age girl (2) (400x400)Being able to relate to others is a skill set all children must develop. Basically, being sociable will enhance a child’s life in many ways, including performing better in school.  All parents, then, should assist their children with developing people skills.  Read this post to learn four easy ways to increase a child’s sociability.

Set the Stage – the 4 Ps

Teaching social skills may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow specific steps. As Edward Christophersen Ph.D. and Susan Mortweet VanScoyoc Ph.D. explain in their essay, Strategies for Teaching Important Social Skills to Young Children, the basic steps include the “4 Ps: Practice, Praise, Point Out, and Prompt.”

In essence, begin working on each new social skill by first telling your child you plan to practice working on it.  For example, if your child has trouble sharing her toys, then state you will be helping her to learn how to do so.  Next, praise your child when she tries out the new skill; catch her in the act of sharing and complement her. The next step involves pointing out real world examples of times when all people have to share.  Finally, prompt her to keep practicing, and let her know you will help her to master the concept.

For a more in depth look at the 4 Ps, follow this link to the Christopherson and VanScoyoc article.

Introductions Matter

One of the easiest ways to increase a child’s sociability is to become adept at introductions.  While a young child doesn’t need to know every detail about shaking hands and making small talk, he or she should at least know the basic steps of an effective introduction.  For instance, teach a child to state his name and to smile when meeting new peers.  Making eye contact will also signal a readiness to become friends.

Role playing comes in handy when teaching this skill. Ask your child to pretend to be the new kid at school, while you assume the role of your child, then model a good introduction. While it may seem silly, role playing works!

Giving Compliments (and Receiving Them) Takes Practice

When genuine, compliments can make a person’s day much brighter. Encourage your child to compliment others WHEN APPROPRIATE.  For instance, one child might compliment the other concerning an athletic or scholastic achievement.  Let your child know that giving meaningful compliments to other children shows their appreciation.

On the other hand, receiving compliments may be difficult for some children.  Instruct your child that the only response needed to a compliment is “thank you.”

Learning to Listen Makes for a Good Friend

Children love to talk, but many do not like to listen.  As with many social skills, a parent must be sure to model correct behavior.  Ask yourself if you really listen to your child.  When a child learns to listen, he accepts differences, and he learns empathy.  Never give up on teaching a talkative child to really listen to his or her peers – as that’s what friends do.

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