Socialising is an important skill that we pick up even at an early age. Children observe and imitate behaviour from the people that surrounds them daily. Well built relationships are rewarding and enhance our emotional learning.
All children are different and they reach their milestones at different paces. Very often parent worry about their development and when it comes to parental duties, they may find it hard to separate protection and expectations.
Socialisation skills are very different from the act of socialisation. Play dates may not always mean that your child will be able to socialise effectively. According to Simpson, a child’s ability to socialise effectively comes naturally once the child is able to first interact well with her parents/caregivers.
As per Dewar (2009), children who are emotionally secured adapt more easily to new social situations. Emotional security is built from the reliability and support of parents.
Some characteristics displayed by children ready for socialisation are:
- Ability to share a range of emotions, from sadness, frustration to laughter.
- Ability to communicate effectively, verbal & non verbal.
- Curiosity and wanting to engage, learn and get involve.
Role – Sharing of chores in the household lets children know that everyone has a role to play.
Self-relate – Adults have the ability to verbalise their emotions. Talking about your emotions to children will allow them to self-regulate and voice out more effectively about how they feel. “E.g. When you don’t pay attention to me, it makes me feel frustrated.”
Communicating – Sharing your opinion and allowing your child to share his is essential. By giving children the opportunity to verbalise thoughts and emotions, parents will be able to gain insight into what is going on in the daily lives of their children. It also allows parents to share their point of view, offer advice and help children build on their problem solving skills.
Minimal Intervention – Intervention should be kept to a minimal. It is important to let your child try to sort out quarrels on their own. Children will learn that playing on their own is not as fun as when they do it in a group. They will understand that group play is more engaging because many minds will lead to brilliant ideas for play.
Sharing is never an easy task. Children are often possessive of their own toys and belongings. Children may not necessarily have the same concept of time as adults, and should they share, they might not always get it back too. To be fair, it is advisable to keep favourite belongings away before a play date to avoid unnecessarily squabbles.
Parents are natural role models. Your actions and words do matter. Children imitate your behaviour. Find opportunities in daily activities or routines to remind children about good social behaviour. Show appreciation by simple thank you and smiles.