A report published in the American Journal of Public Health suggested that the social skills of young preschoolers can "predict key adolescent and adult outcomes".
Read more: Teach your little one social skills
Research also suggested that children with the ability to share and engage with their peers in the classroom are less likely to be involved in criminal activity, unemployment and substance abuse in their adult life.
There are many other opportunities for your child to exercise his/her level of social competency. Many parents assume that their kids need to spend time with their peers in order to gain better social skills. Socialisation opportunities don't necessarily solely occur in the classroom.
How can I enhance my child's social skills?
Limiting your child's social interaction by hoping that the time they spend with their peers is enough to stimulate this could narrow their perspectives when it comes to how they engage with others.
Exposing your child to different types or levels of social engagement is a good way to enhance their ability to adapt and relate to different environments, cultures, age groups and situations.
-You as the parent form a strong foundation of your child's understanding when it comes to how they engage with others. Children repeat and mimic the way their parents interact with others so you need to be mindful when you're in social situations around your kids so that that they can pick up on good social behaviours.
-Don't limit play dates to only inviting your child's classmates. While we live in such a diverse country as far as the people who live in it are concerned, you'll usually find that children in one class tend to come from similar backgrounds and children will form groups and cliques based on who they're most familiar with. Exposing your child to interacting with children of different religions, cultures and backgrounds is something more parents should encourage to social diversity.
-Teach your child about emotions. Talk openly about feelings, how and why people respond differently to different situations and how to be empathetic. Start by using your own feelings as an example (i.e. "I'm feeling sad today because I haven't had a morning hug from you yet" or "I'm feeling excited because I'll be taking you and I are going to visit the aquarium together for the first time today"). Showing your child how you can be open about what you're feeling will encourage them to do the same around others. If a child can express themselves without fear of standing out or without thinking that they'll be rejected for showing their feelings, they're more likely to make stronger and more connections with others.
-Values such as integrity, kindness and compassion might not seem easy to relay to your preschooler, but setting an example through your own actions may rub off on them. Children who are raised by calm, gentle and openly-loving parents are likely to show similar characteristics around others.
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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