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How should I help my child practice her social skills?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Just telling your child about the social skill is not enough. Your child needs to try out the skill with other children. Without the practice session your child will never be able to feel comfortable using the new friendship making skill out there in the real world. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you help your child:
  • Research at Stanford University finds that the best kids for your child to practice with are peers she doesn't already know, those who are younger or those less skilled. Remember, your child will feel awkward trying anything new with kids he knows.
  • So look for a younger cousin, the kid next door, the kid at the park. Once he practices (and practices and practices) your child will be able to use the skill with his own peer group.
  • Keep the practice session short. Don't overwhelm.
  • Keep the session fun -- this isn't meant to be a tutoring session like learning math facts!
  • Stand back at a comfortable distance to give your child comfort.
  • If your child is having problems in the group, offer suggestions, but only privately never in front of other kids.
  • Make sure you practice the sessions at home.
  • Get the other family members involved!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.