Learning Social Skills

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Old 27-Mar-2011
Learning Social Skills

If we aren’t tribal people, we will certainly need social skills to survive. In some of us, social skills are innate, while amongst many others, social skills develop with experience. They help each and every one of us to effectively handle intense situations and get along with new people. Although a few eccentric people prefer to dwell in solitary confinement, the majority thrive on social interaction. Socializing is not only fun for most of us, but tremendously useful. Social skills encapsulate what behaviours are acceptable and what isn’t. Children generally adopt these social behaviour patterns from their parents or teachers. Socially apt individuals usually hold a strong grip on social protocols which are shared conventions for communication. These folks know when to smile, when to shake hands and when to keep a lid on it. Children are not born with social skills. It is through preventive and corrective teachings that they gradually conform to societal norms. Inculcate the ones that lack the much needed social skills as you scroll down below.

How To Learn Social Skills

Importance Of Listening

What you give is what you get. If you lend your ears to somebody, they will do the same when you most need them? Everybody has the instinctive desire to be heard. Listening is the one of the first steps to making friends and enhancing your social skills. As a teacher or a parent, stimulate the child’s listening skills. They might be restless and short of patience. However, kids are malleable. Probe them with interesting questions like- What does a good listener do? What are the qualities of a good listener? As you get them thinking, the importance of listening will soon dawn upon them and they’ll subconsciously start listening and socializing!

Interactive Activities
Whether it’s a classroom, a birthday party or a regular day of soccer practice, encourage children to interact and share stories about one another. A teacher could host sessions every week wherein groups of two are formed. Partners can disclose general things about themselves. “What’s your favourite movie?” “Did you like the new Spiderman movie?” “How was your holiday?” are some of the questions they could exchange. Let them learn how to make appropriate eye contact while listening, how to wait for a response and how to nod whenever necessary.

Keen Observation
Train your children right from the start. Akin to the concept of “follow the leader” let them imitate your every move with regards to meeting new people. Teach them when to shake hands or when to give a cheek-to-cheek kiss. Let them pick up on respectable ways of addressing strangers or elderly people. Being polite, courteous and using good manners are all part and parcel of the social ball game.

Make The Learning Experience Fun
Reinforce a child’s learning skills by praising their progress and rewarding them with something special. Of course, as kids they won’t be able to gauge the benefits of learning social skills at that point of time. However, as they evolve and practice their skills, newer skills will develop and the benefits will indeed start to sink in.

Let Them Venture
Venturing out in unfamiliar environments is a good way for them to discover their social skills which will sprout as an instinctive resort to fend for themselves. Things are best learnt and understood in this manner. They’ll definitely gather that picking their noses and scratching their buttocks goes against the norms.

Be Patient!
For a child to acquire the right social skills, it does take a long time. A parent or teacher needs to be patient. In due time, they will get the hang of saying things like “Sorry” and “Thank you”. You can’t anticipate fabulous results after two or three practices. With the passage of time, they master the art of small talk and gradually feel more comfortable with newcomers.

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