Did you know that although social skills begin to develop from infancy but many important social skills are practiced in the preschool age years? In fact, social issues can be solved early in life in order to prepare children for school and for their older years.
I have chosen to focus on 5 main ways to engage children in social settings to engage with social interaction and those 5 ways are not just dealing with solving the social interaction issue...
They have one main purpose in common…
Social interaction that allows for speech language development.
There are many opportunities and situations that you can create to develop social interactions. More specifically, to empower children who are having language delays.
What Are Social Skills Specifically?
Social Skills refers to the children’s ability to interact with other people. There are many ways of social skills:
- Using body language to express oneself
- Using verbal language to express oneself
- Using empathy to understand someone else’s opinion
Many children can experience language delays and have difficulties interacting socially with other children or other people in general.
How Can We Solve This Issue?
There are many ways to help children who are struggling with social interaction and with language delays.
You can start to work with children who have difficulties when it comes to connecting with other children when they reach the age of two to five years old. This is the time when they are in preschool, so they have the ability to start to see and relate with other children through interactions and forming relationships.
There are many different situations that preschool children learn when they’re faced with a difficult situation in social interactions.
- Conflicts – a child learns through social situations how to deal with conflict
- Interactions – a child understands how to socially behave with different interactions
- Friendships – a child finds a way to form relationships through social interactions
There are also some great games that you can practice with your child to promote social interaction and develop social skills
EXERCISE 1 – GROUP GAMES
A group game is a game that involves taking turns and following directions. When children learn that they can have fun while taking turns, they learn an important social skill. They also realize that the game needs positive and active engagement from everyone involved, so they learn to play with each other.
Recommended Group Games
Hoot Owl Hoot
This game allows children to wait their turn and work together because everyone is on the same team.Everyone needs to cooperate with one another in order to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up.
MindWare Rainbow Fish Share & Sparkle Preschool Game
This game is a great way to show children that they need to work together to get all of the fish’s scales so he can swim in the waves before they reach the shore.
This is another game where children need to take turns and learn social interaction with each other by playing together.
EXERCISE 2 – MUSICAL GAMES
Musical chairs is a great way to show children that they have to follow the rules while still competing with each other.
This is the way it works:
Set chairs in a circle, one fewer than the number of children in the game, and then play music as kids walk around the circle. Every time the music stops, children must try to sit on a chair. Kids who don’t get a chair are out. Then remove a chair and begin again.
This game allows children to work on several social interaction issues and learn the following lessons:
- Learn to solve conflict or arguments peacefully, in order to continue playing
- Learn to deal with disappointment if one losses
- Learn to deal with patience and waiting
- Learn to use their words to work out whose chair it is or who got there first
- They find that they have to be comfortable with losing sometimes
Make sure that there is an adult watching the game as many issues can arise from playing the game.
EXERCISE 3 – BOARD GAMES
Board games are for older preschool children in which they learn to play with multiple players – even if it is just 2 players like Snakes and Ladders.
Board games allow children to learn to practice many social interaction situations like:
- Following directions
- Taking turns
- Making appropriate comments
- Experiencing winning and losing
- Communication between players
- Staying calm if they are not winning
Additionally, parents can interact with the many images and pictures that are part of the board games, so it is a great opportunity to work on language skills.
Recommended Board Games
Hasbro Gaming Candy Land Kingdom Of Sweet Adventures Board Game
I love this game because it is so easy to play and children do not even need to know how to read, so it is appropriate for many children.
EXERCISE 4 – FANTASY GAMES
Fantasy play is a great way to motivate the child to learn to socialize. Children make sense of the world around them using their imagination by role-playing.
You can facilitate fantasy play by providing your child with props such as costumes, tools, plastic or wooden tools for a role such as a baker.The toy company Melissa & Doug have many. Here are some examples.
Recommended Fantasy Games
Melissa & Doug Pizza Party
This game allows children to play together and simulate having a pizza party. Allows children to cut the pizza and add ingredients
Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume Set
This game allows children to use their imagination and pretend to be the Fire Chief. It is a great way to use props, customes and tools to encourage learning.
EXERCISE 5 – BLOCK GAMES
This is one of those activities where you will see this progression clearly. By the time children are building together, they are learning to share, listen to each other’s ideas, problem-solve, organize, share opinions, negotiate, compromise and work towards a common goal.
Blocks are great because they motivate cooperation with one another by building their own structures. Children begin to share blocks and take interest in each other’s structures to build something together.
Social Skills for School Readiness
There are many ways to develop social skills and prepare children for school. When it comes to being ready for school, children need to be able to perform certain tasks. Here are some of those social tasks:
- Sharing with each other
- Working with each other in a group setting
- Give priority to others forming relationships
- Be less egocentric (less involved with oneself and more attuned to others)
- Having a positive self-image
This post has many suggestions to prepare children to engage in social interactions at a very early age and to allow them to develop language in different ways. Which of the games will you practice with your child?