Social Development: Suggestions for Families

Social Development: Suggestions for Families

– family relationships & expectations have a major influence on a child’s social development
– family relations help children relate to others
– children also learn by observing their parents

Tips for Parents to Develop Young Children’s Friendship Skills
1) arrange lots of play dates from birth
2) children learn from watching you with your partner, friends, parents etc.,
3) children find it easier to get long with others if they are doing the same activities (learning to swim, ball games etc.,)
4) talk to children about how to be with others (greetings, farewells, being a good sport)
5) play games with others to learn how to cooperate & be considerate of others
6) read stories about friends
7) if a child is aggressive, respond to their feeling, but state that you do not like the behaviour. Ask them to consider if there is another way to get what they want.
8) have other children over, one at a time
9) when children are first learning to play together, have something planned for them to do
10) teach your child to smile when you greet people – don’t force – practice when you greet each other in the morning
11) teach children skills like relating & listening to others, being friendly, responding, showing interest in what others have to say
12) help them to show interest in their playmates & give compliments to their playmates; compliment your child for their effort
13) praise your child for being friendly & caring of others
14) help children to use words to say what they need & feel

Naming Feelings for Children
1) this is very important in helping children learn to manage their feelings – it also helps them to begin to think about what others might be feeling
2) learning about feelings starts young – for e.g. Toddlers & frustration/anger – adults help children name & manage feelings when things do not go their way (for e.g. Waiting their turn)

Tips for Developing Older Children’s Friendship Skills
1) social & emotional skills
– listening to others
– taking turns
– making friends
– resolving conflict
– emphasise skills for cooperative & respectful relationships (acknowledge when this occurs)
2) use positive discipline
– expectations communicated clearly & calmly
– be consistent
3) talk about values
– read stories about values
– ask their opinions about what was right/wrong; how another person would feel etc.,
– ask if particular actions are kind, caring, respectful
4) capitalise on teachable moments
– when problems occur, ask the child how e situation could be improved
– extend learning by asking how the other person would feel & what could be done to improve the situation
5) involve children in family discussions & decision-making
– this further reinforces the value of listening & perspective-taking (how this would affect another person)
– it also demonstrates e values of you as the parent & that the opinions of others does indeed matter (including their opinion)
6) promote a strong sense of identity
– notice & acknowledge what children do to help – it shows they are appreciated & develops pride in doing the right thing
– help children to develop ways to stand up for what they believe in
– this helps children develop confidence in themselves
7) supervise media use
– age appropriate commensurate with their understanding, in particular violence

Source: KidsMatter, An APS Initiative


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