Through the toddler years, parents must take extra care to help their child develop social communication skills to get ready for preschool. How a child views and interacts with others can affect her current relationships with peers along with her social development in future years. A checklist of the most important communication skills serves as a reminder of what to work on while your tot is still developing self-confidence and a desire to connect with other people.
1. Awareness of Others
It is important to watch your child to see if he shows an awareness of others on a regular basis. Does he empathize with other children in his social circle or with family members when they get hurt? Look to see if he misses his friends when they have been absent for a while, such as over a long vacation break or when they are sick. Missing his friends at these times is normal but it is unusual for a child to chronically feel lonely, so observe him to see if he can entertain himself when it is appropriate. Also note if your child has a good sense of humor and knows how to react properly to something amusing.
2. Communication with Peers
A large aspect of how a preschooler develops her social communication skills is how she interacts with her peers. A child who exhibits self-control can stand up for herself, communicate her wants and approach other children with a positive attitude. She not only waves and nods at others to connect with them, she is able to contribute to conversations and express frustrations without lashing out in anger. A child that manages relationships with peers naturally knows how to compromise, take turns and stand up to bullies.
3. Received by Others
How other children receive a child speaks to his social communication in play and work. A socially capable preschooler is generally accepted by his peers, who often invite him to participate in their activities. He is able to maintain a conversation with one or two children at the same time as well as actively listen to others when they are speaking. A child who has a difficult time relating to other children may need to develop his social skills in structured playgroups or organized activities.
Good manners are bound to get a child far, especially when relating with other children and adults. Starting at home, watch your child to see if she has enough self-restraint to sit down and listen to a story, wait for you to get off the phone or hold her tongue until someone else has finished speaking. Gently remind her to say please and thank you every time it is appropriate until it becomes second nature to her. Look at her daily behavior to see if she easily shares her toys with other children and if she picks up after herself when you ask her to.
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