Date
21 July 2018
Real-life social settings are the best place for children to practice their social skills. Photo: Reuters
Real-life social settings are the best place for children to practice their social skills. Photo: Reuters

Social skills training for kids

When primary school children exhibit poor social skills and feel discomfort interacting with others, parents are confronted with the task of seeking ways to improve the kids’ condition.

Strengthening children’s language skills and etiquette can help them to cope with early stages of primary school, such as the first and second grades.

But when they grow up and are in higher grades, they would need to utilize more social skills in common activities, such as gatherings during recesses, lunch breaks and extra-curricular activities, in order to get along well with their peers and establish good relationships.

With a busy study schedule, parents cannot continuously take their children to relevant training agencies. What should parents do then?

As a matter of fact, there are many chances to increase children’s social skills in daily life. Parents should consider the following instances:

1. Let your children talk to a familiar “stranger”, someone who you will often see but are not familiar with, such as children from another school but waiting at the same area for school bus, teenage students, kids and people from the neighborhood.

Parents should keep an open mind to let their children talk to these people, without worrying about their language usage. Through conversations, children can be informed of words, facial expressions and reactions of different people to deepen their understanding of various ways of expression and enhance their social skills.

2. Encourage your children to tell you something at night. First ask them to tell whatever random things they have thought of. Then parents can say they do not quite follow, and encourage the kids to elaborate. Lastly, parents can summarize the story for the children to imitate and repeat so that the children can practice speaking and improve their oral skills.

Real-life social settings are the best place for children to practice their social skills. It is also believed that more social stimulation from the daily environment is the most effective way of training.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 29

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

JC/JC/RC

FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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