5 Ways to Improve Social Skills

by Yenny Linares – COTA at Always Keep Progressing

Social skills are essential for the development of any child and it is something that we practice unknowingly on a day to day basis. Social skills help to build and strengthen bonds between families, friends and new people who are just interacting with your child for the first time.

It is very important to maintain and promote socialization throughout life, not just for school performance, but eventually for career enhancement and daily life. The following tips are just a few ways you can help your child with their social skill development:

  1. Engage in play between 2 or more children in the same age group
  2. Decrease screen time
  3. Ask more open-ended questions
  4. Practice saying “hello” to strangers (supervised with parent/caregiver)
  5. Play with board games of 2 or more players! 

1. Engage in play between 2 or more children in the same age group

Whenever there is an opportunity for your child to play in a social environment, try encouraging him/her to engage with 2 or more kids at a time. Group play promotes socialization by inviting in different topics for conversation. This also allows your child to interact with different personalities and practice group effort and teamwork!

2. Decrease Screen Time

Too much screen-time can limit your child’s opportunities for learning and lower their use of socialization skills. Limiting screen-time on a daily basis opens up more possibilities for socialization, not just out in the world, but also between you and your child. 

3. Ask More Open-Ended Questions

Ask open-ended questions! When you ask a “yes” or “no” question, it limits your child’s use of language and vocabulary. Asking open-ended questions invites your child to brainstorm and expand utterances. It also opens up new discussions and topics of conversation. This targets social skills and encourages interaction. 

4. Practice Saying “hello” to Strangers (supervised with parent/caregiver)

Practice good manners! It can be as simple as saying “hello” or opening the door for a stranger. Provide cues and encouragement to your child when a socialization opportunity arises.

5. Play with board games of 2 or more players! 

5.Playing in teams of 2 or more players during board games can help your child practice a variety of social skills: turn-taking, following directions, making eye contact, joint attention, listening, and so much more! Start with 2 players and work your way up to incorporating 4 players. Practice reading the game rules prior to beginning, and throughout the game as needed.

Occupational, Speech and Music Therapy in Miami

At Always Keep Progressing Miami, our trained bilingual occupational therapists provide services specifically tailored to each individual child to help grow their independence and fine-tune their speaking, language, feeding and occupational skills as well as gross and fine motor skills.
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