Social Skills and Making Friends

By teaching your child some simple social skills at an early age, he will have an easier time making friends. Wouldn't it be nice if your child could easily befriend someone? Basic social skills begin at birth and develop as your child ages. Social skills help children make friends. Educational psychology expert Piaget focused on the development of a child's social skills and common sense, nothing that children do not generally reach that maturation until around age 13. 

Listen
Being a good listener is a basic skill that will help your child make friends and help him to succeed in school and the real-world. Paying attention and listening to someone is a compliment. Your child should ask questions. Not only will this get the friend to open up about a particular topic, it will show that your child is interested in the activities of the new friend. Positive attention, achieved through listening, is a good base for developing friendships.

Eye Contact
Eye contact is in important non-verbal social skill. When you make direct eye contact with someone who is talking, you establish that you are interested in what is being said. Teach your child to maintain eye contact with his friends when they speak.

Repetition
A person's name is important for him to hear. Teach your child to repeat his friend's name during a conversation. It shows that your child takes an interest in the person and will help the friendship develop.

Here's another conversational skill to teach your child: repeat the last few words of a friend's sentence. This helps the child stay focused and finish a story or thought.

Cooperation
Learning to take turns is a social skill that can enhance a friendship. This comes into play not only when friends are conversing, but during play time also. Cooperation and team work are skills that will help teach problem solving basics. Help your child understand the importance of taking turns speaking without interruption. When one person is finished, the other should share his thoughts. During play time, taking turns playing with a toy or joining together to create something will aid cooperation and lessen misunderstandings.

By expanding your child's repertoire of social skills, you will also help him expand his core group of friends. Practice and model these skills for your child and watch them develop strong, healthy friendships.

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