A child doesn’t need to be the most popular in the class, but it does need good social skills.
As children get older, they become part of a larger social world. How they come across to others and make first impression is important, not only for showing good manners, but also for social success. Children don’t need to be the most popular ones in their class, but they do need good social skills. Their ability to successfully interact socially will impact their success in school, their career path, and their lifelong relationships. The following five skills can help your child make a good first impression:
1. A Sincere Smile
A smile says you’re happy to meet someone, and everyone loves to feel like people are happy to meet them. Practice introducing yourself to your child with and without smiling to show the point. Explain them that genuine smile and gentle handshake when meeting someone for the first time are always desirable.
2. Good Body Language
Body language, as a form of nonverbal communication, can reveal whether someone is happy or sad, excited or angry.The ability to understand and use body language is a powerful tool that can help children connect with others, express what they really mean, and build better relationships. The way you can practice this skill with your children: let them watch a film or documentary on TV. Mute the sound and ask them what they think each person is feeling according to their specific body and facial expressions.
3. Eye Contact
It’s important to teach children from a young age to look people in the eye when they’re talking to them, or they could develop a habit of seeming aloof or disinterested in communicating with other people. Good eye contact conveys respect and understanding, and lets people know we are interested in what they have to say. Therefore, ask your child to hold eye contact with you for at least 15 seconds and count as you look at each other. This exercise boosts confidence in making eye contact for future introductions. Explain them that if someone doesn’t make eye contact while talking, it reveals to the other person that something or someone else is more important than the person standing right in front of him/her.
Many of us think that communication is talking, but good communication requires good listening skills as well. In fact, since we have two ears and only one mouth, listening just might be the more important skill. However, nowadays it seems that listening is a forgotten social skill. We hear mostly what we want to hear, not what the other person is trying to communicate to us. It’s easy to recognize that someone is actively listening: eye contact, open body language, an engaged facial expression, nodding one’s head or asking questions. To practice this skill with your children, tell them a story, something new and different with a few fun details that children might remember. To make sure they were actively listening, ask them questions related to your story or if they can retell it.
Teaching children good manners is teaching them, among other things, to treat others with respect. Explain them that no adult should be called by his or her first name unless they let them do so. Furthermore, discuss with your children the way they greet and address their neighbors, friends, parents, teachers, shop assistants, post office clerks. This will help them later in life for communication with superiors and colleagues in the workplace.
How do you teach your children social skills? Share with us your ideas.