Over and above the general demands of a parent, another parental responsibility is to help your toddler develop social skills.
What are social skills?
Social skills are both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Without developed social skills, humans would be unable to interact with each other.
A toddler is taught social skills and parents can help their children to develop these skills. Social skills include a keenness to share, the ability to interact with their peers and to show empathy or sympathy towards each other.
What can be done to help the child develop the skills?
- Playgroups or play-dates are fantastic ways to help improve social skills in toddlers. The toddler is able to interact with others and in this setting, parents or teachers can assess weak areas or areas which need attention. Sharing does not come naturally and even some adult battle with this skill. Toddlers should never be forced into sharing, but parents should rather help a child feel secure enough to relinquish their favourite toy (with the knowledge that it will return).
- Set a good example. When parents control their emotions, or show toddlers that they are respectful towards others, and that they respond correctly to the hurt and pain of others – toddlers will learn from their example.
- Parents can use positive parenting to help toddlers develop these critical life skills. The child should be taught that negative behaviour is not acceptable, such as biting, hitting, tantrums etc, while caring, kind and loving behaviour should receive a lot of positive attention.
- Help toddlers recognise their feelings. Give them words to use when they are feeling angry, upset, hurt or sad. Kids who are unable to express themselves verbally become frustrated and by knowing a word to tie up with their feelings will relive this frustration that usually results in temper tantrums.