Social skills are important throughout our lives. The earlier we learn them, the easier it will be for us to navigate social scenes later in life. Try these activities for working on social skills with your preschooler and give her a skill she will use for life.
There's a lot to be said for looking someone in the eye. It tells someone you're listening and you care about what they have to say. It can be a hard habit to pick up, though, if you haven't been doing it from an early age. Have a staring contest with your preschooler to teach her how to find — and hold — someone's gaze.
Find a local playgroup and join so your kiddo can have a chance to play with other kids. Encourage her to introduce herself, and make sure the kids are playing together, not alone but side-by-side.
It's pretty amazing how much a child can learn from a simple game of soccer or basketball. Sports teach kids how to be good winners and good losers. They also teach cooperation and competitiveness, skills that they'll always need. There's no need to sign up for a league. Get a game going in your backyard.
Kids love to role play! You'll make her day when you agree to play house, doctor, grocery store, movie theater or anything else. They think they're just having fun, but they're really learning social script and perfecting the way you should act in different social situations.
It doesn't matter if you're using wood scraps in the backyard or tiny blocks in your living room. Work with your preschooler to build something, and he'll expand his social skills while having a blast. Building together teaches communication, cooperation and negotiation (how often do you both want to build the same thing?). Make sure he's listening to your ideas and you're not just following his lead.
Good social skills have a lot to do with your ability to decipher what another person is feeling. Work on facial expression by flipping through a magazine or picture book with your preschooler. Stop on pictures of people and ask her to identify their mood.
Don't introduce your preschooler to strangers; have her introduce herself.
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