Social development is critical to the growth and wellbeing of young people, particularly as they enter adolescence. Social skills for kids are less about being the most popular kid in school, and more about a child’s ability to form meaningful bonds with others.
Teaching kids social skills is not as difficult as it may sound. Let’s start with the basics.
Vanderbilt University found the top 10 social skills children need to succeed in school, based on surveys of 8,000 elementary teachers and two decades of classroom research, are to:
- Listen to others
- Follow the steps
- Follow the rules
- Ignore distractions
- Ask for help
- Take turns when you talk
- Get along with others
- Stay calm with others
- Be responsible for your behaviour
- Do nice things for others
As your son matures and enters the rocky adolescent years, his emotional intelligence will develop and he will need to learn social skills that are more complex.
Here are four ways to help your son with social skills development:
1. Model good social skills
Modelling is always a good place to start when raising children. If you would like your son to develop certain social skills, start by demonstrating those skills within your daily life.
2. Refrain from labelling your son
Many of us shy away from social situations out of awkwardness, unfamiliarity and uncertainty. Perhaps your son is quieter and can relate to this. If so, avoid labelling him as shy or an introvert and acknowledge his feelings. You can even relate to your son by talking to him about social situations that you find difficult.
3. Provide your son with opportunities to practise his social skills
Like any other skill, we must be taught first and then practise what we learn to become proficient. By providing your son with opportunities to practise being social, and showing and telling him how to manage social situations, you are helping him to develop his social skills. For example, teach him how to handle anger constructively, resolve conflicts peacefully, listen attentively, and show empathy for others going through a difficult time.
4. Identify and change self-defeating behaviours
Have you ever done something embarrassing that you beat yourself up about for days afterwards? If you see your son doing this, talk about what happened, and discuss his fears or embarrassment about the situation. Chances are his own internalisation of the incident is worse that the reality of the situation.
Our mission at Trinity Grammar School is to help boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, to discover their innate talents and unlock their full potential within the context of a supportive Christian environment. We take the wellbeing of our boys very seriously.
Our Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting enabling boys to grow into caring, self-confident, resilient young men. Our Life Skills Programme is part of a whole of School approach to health and well-being that enhances our boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent.
To learn more about the Trinity difference, and to discover why we are one of the leading private schools in Sydney, download our Prospectus.