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  • York Paediatric Therapy Services

Building Social Skills: Strategies for Helping Your Child Thrive in Social Settings

Updated: Apr 29

As parents, we want to see our children succeed in life, and a fundamental aspect of their development is how they interact with others verbally and nonverbally. Social skills can help shape a child’s ability to make friends, navigate social situations, and communicate with others effectively. When children have difficulty in this area, it can impact their overall confidence. In this blog post, we offer strategies to help with practice at home to support development for children.  

Understanding Social Skills: 

 Social skills include expressing oneself clearly, establishing and maintaining attention, understanding the emotions of others and managing emotions in oneself, empathy and perspective-taking, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. When children struggle in these areas, it can impact their overall well-being. 


Signs of Limited Social Skills in Children: 

Recognizing the signs of limited social skills is crucial for early intervention and support. Some common indicators include difficulty making and maintaining friendships, challenges in understanding the social cues of others, trouble expressing emotions in a way that others understand, and difficulty resolving conflicts. 


Strategies to Support Social Skill Development in Children at Home: 

Modelling and practicing can help your child become more confident in communicating with others. Try these out: 


  1. Turn-Taking: 

  • Try incorporating simple games such as peekaboo, ball play or even while building together!  

  • Take turns sharing about your day – this can be done during meal time or as part of the night time routine.  


2. Perspective Taking  

  • Be detectives and try and find out how one of their favorite character is feeling within a show or story! 

  • Play an emotion game where you look at pictures of different expressions and need to guess what the person is feeling. 


3. Talk about Feelings: 

  • Share with your child how you feel throughout the day 

  • You can choose natural opportunities where you feel different emotions and share this with your child in the moment so they can see and understand what you are feeling and why! Eg. If you lose your keys and you are feeling frustrated, you can say “I feel frustrated because I can’t find my keys” or when you child gives you a hug, you can say "I feel happy when you give me hugs”.  


Collaboration with Professionals: 

While parents play a significant role in nurturing their child’s social skills, seeking professional guidance is important. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), psychologists, occupational therapists, or developmental interventionists can provide individualized strategies to support your child’s social-emotional development.

Social skills in children are essential for their overall well-being and success. By creating a supportive environment, teaching and modelling social skills, promoting emotional awareness and regulation, encouraging empathy and perspective-taking, and fostering problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills, parents can help their children thrive socially. Remember, seeking professional help when needed can improve overall outcomes. Contact York Paediatric Therapy Services if you have any questions about supporting your child’s social skills and building their confidence.


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