9 ways to boost social skills in children

When your child has grown up a bit and is ready for his or her foray into society, it is essential that they have friends to share these precious moments with. After all, man is a social animal. Friends help your child become socially adept and confident. Throughout our evolutionary history, the ability to make friends has been a crucial survival skill. But friendly nature and social skills may not ‘just emerge’ during your child’s development.


Children need to be taught how to make friends and sustain friendships, making it essential for parents to guide them on their every step in these early times. Here are a few pointers which could help-


1. Train your children in emotion control-
Everybody has negative emotions and selfish impulses. Studies suggest that children develop better emotional self-control when their parents talk to them about their feelings in a sympathetic, problem-solving way.
In contrast, kids whose negative emotions are usually trivialized (‘You’re just being silly’) or punished (‘Go to your room and cool off’) tend to have more trouble with self- control


2. Practice authoritative (not authoritarian) parenting-
Kids are more likely to be rejected by their peers when their parents practice authoritarian parenting –an approach characterized by low levels of warmth and high levels of control. Authoritarian parents discourage thoughtful discussion and attempt to control behaviour through punishment. Kids raised this way are less likely to develop an internalized sense of right and wrong.


3. Teach kids how to converse in a polite way-
The earliest lessons kids learn about communication happen at home, and it seems they make a difference. It has been found that parents who showed high levels of reciprocity in their communication with children had kids who developed more social competence and better negotiation skills.
• Trade information about your likes and dislikes while starting a new conversation
• Don’t be a conversation hog. When engaged in conversation, only answer the question at hand. Then give your partner a chance to talk, or ask a question of your own
• Don’t be an interviewer. Don’t just ask questions. Offer information about yourself too


6. Coach kids on how to cope with tricky social situations-
• Before making your approach, watch what the other kids are doing. What can you do to fit in?
• Try joining the game by doing something relevant. For example, if kids are playing a restaurant game, see if you can become a new customer
• Don’t be disruptive or critical or try to change the game
• If the other kids don’t want you to join in, don’t try to force it. Just back off and find something else to do


7. Monitor their social life-
Studies in a variety of cultures suggest that children are better off when their parents monitor their social activities. This doesn’t mean hovering over kids or getting in the middle of every peer interaction but it does mean supervising where kids play and helping kids choose their friends.


8. Wherever possible, let kids try to work things out on their own-
Toddlers need to be closely supervised. But as they get older, parents need to back off a little bit and give their young one a chance to develop their own social skills.


9. Watch out for bullying-
Always watch out for your child from behind the scenes and ask them to talk about their day with friends. If your child talks about any instance that resembles bullying, intervene immediately. You can choose to talk to the child and if that does not show any results, then be sure to forbid your child from remaining friends with that person


Also, carefully observe if your child is bullying or trying to bully another child. This behavior also calls for immediate intervention. Talk to them about their behavior and change this habit as soon as possible.


Above all, allow your child to be free in choosing friends and learning from their mistakes. Never criticize them harshly or scold them especially in front of their friends. Happy parenting!

How to handle fussy eaters?

What is the most challenging bit about parenting? Making sure your child is getting the right nutrition will definitely top the list.


Probably you are struggling with making your kid eat Beans, spinach, capsicum, carrots etc. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many children can be fussy when it comes to eating the right food.


Here are some practical tips which you can do to make your child eat-


 Create a schedule: – Your child needs to eat every two to three hours in small amounts. Three meals, two snacks and lots of fluid gives your child a balanced and healthy diet.


 Get your kids involved in cooking: – Make your child your cooking partner. Let them choose what meals they are going to have and also let them watch you prepare the meal. Make cooking an interactive session by talking to them about the goodness of their food. Take them to the grocery store with you and let them choose what they will like to take home.


 Be a good eater first: – It means- include vegetables and low fat dairy in your diet. Introduce lots of vegetables, fruits into your diet and eat them with your child. They will eventually start to enjoy their meals.


 Fill the meal table with options: – Kids enjoy choosing food when they see there are plenty of options on the table. Let them pick what they like best but also ensure that they get complete nutrition.


 Good presentation helps: – Try to make meals look creative. Smilies, made-up names and cute shapes generally work. Make eating fun by introducing a story. Tell what happens next after your child has taken the next bite and so on. Don’t loose your patience or try to scare them to get them to eat.


It is a good idea to sometimes leave them alone with their plate of food. Tell them the importance or right nutrition. Enable them to decide what is good for them and what isn’t.


All the best!

My Daddy is the best!

Before birth, a child spends nine months in mother’s womb. Mom and baby, since inception, form a close bond. The father is the protector and nurturer of this bond.


A father is always his child’s first hero. Becoming a father can get a little overwhelming. Your child watches you, copies you and learns for you. Researchers have found that love or rejection from mothers and fathers equally affects kids’ behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health. In some cases, however, the withdrawal of father’s love plays a bigger role in kids’ problems with psychological adjustment, delinquency and substance abuse. And for others, the presence of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their emotional and physical health.


Let’s extrapolate how fathers impact their children.


Emotional Well Being
Fathers are central to the emotional well-being of their children and can be capable caretakers and disciplinarians. Studies show that if a child’s father is affectionate, supportive and involved, he can contribute greatly to the child’s cognitive, linguistic and social development.


Social Behavior
Children who bond with their fathers tend to have less behavioral problems and are somewhat inoculated against alcohol and drug abuse. When fathers are less engaged, children are more likely to drop out of school earlier and to exhibit more problems in behavior and substance abuse.


Academic Performance
According to a study at the University of Illinois, children of fathers who take the time to ask about what they learned in school and their day-to-day social activities and relationships do better in school than kids who don’t have that kind of input or interest. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England reached the same conclusion about the link between paternal involvement and academic success in their study of 17,000 British school children. Says psychologist Eirine Flouri, one of the study’s authors, “An involved father figure reads to his child, takes outings with his child, is interested in his child’s education, and takes a role equal to the mother’s in managing his child.” Children with this type of dad were more likely to get good grades in school, she found.


A Role Model for Sons & Daughters
University of Oxford researchers noted that girls who had more involved fathers were less likely to face mental health problems later in life. Genuine praise and admiration from a father can help his daughter grow up to be an independent, confident woman.


Boys model themselves after their fathers. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy those behaviors that they recognize as both successful and familiar. Thus, if dad was abusive, controlling, and dominating, those can be the patterns that their sons will imitate and emulate. However, if father is loving, kind, supportive, and protective, boys are more likely to be like that.


Being a father is a big responsibility. Before becoming a father, one should take a moment and reflect on the kind of father they want to be and the kind of upbringing they want to give to their child. A lot depends on it.

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