One of my recent favorite TV shows is the Middle School. The plot is about parents with three different categories of kid. Each of them has a different social skill level.
One of them named, Brick, need some extra classes for social skill. On the other hand, Axl is the “famous” one in the school.
This TV show, day by day, reminds me of how important it is to have social skills to make connections with human beings. Sometimes, we as parents, overlook the need to pay special attention to this aspect of our children’s growth.
Really, how many of us take an extra step to “teach” or “improve” our children’s ability to make a conversation or react appropriately to a situation?
Not many, isn’t it?
Here are 4 simple activities that will help you build social skills in your kids.
Get ready to make a lot of cards for this post.
1. Social skill cards and reflection summary
For this one, you have to create cards with activities on it. For example, “Make a conversation with the kid next door”, “share with a friend without being asked” or “learn something new about your classmate today”.
Mix up all the cards and put it in the jar. Tag the jar “challenge for the day”. Alongside the jar, put reflection cards. You will have three categories on this card
- My challenge was _______
- To complete my challenge I _______
- After completing the challenge I felt _______
Ask your kid to pick up one card from the jar each day before going to school and try to finish the task before his/her day ends. Once they complete the task, they will have to fill up the reflection card and give it to you. Sit down him/her and talk about his day and how did they complete the task at hand.
2. Emotion charades
This one could be lots of fun. You can create cards with emotions or print smileys on papers.
Each player picks up a card and enacts it out. Other players will guess the emotion. For example, if the emotion is sad, they can enact sitting in one corner alone.
If the next player gets sad again, they will have to enact the emotion in a different manner
If the kids aren’t into charades, you can play a pictionary game. However, the kids may have a difficult time drawing emotions if they aren’t supposed to draw faces!
Oh. There is no point of playing pictionary if you allow drawing faces. Right?
3. Toss the conversation ball
Take one of these balls (shown below) which allow you to write on it with help on a marker. Write down conversation starters, personal questions, activities, how you feel about x questions etc.
The ball would look like this –
Gather a few of his/friends to play with the toss ball. You can do this on the playground too.
Each player reads one thing on this ball, starts a conversation and passes the ball. Once everyone has shared a bit about themselves (answering the question picked up initially), the player sitting next picks up another question.
A few questions to get you started –
- What inspires you?
- What is the best thing that happened today?
- Share one activity you love to do
- What is your favorite color?
- Describe your perfect sandwich
- What cartoon do you like to watch? Etc.
Keep playing this until kids don’t need a ball to start conversations with others.
4. Situational cards
I told you, cards again.
This time, you will have to write situations on card. For example “You see a kid who has fallen down and hurt himself” or “you see that your mother has just come back from work. What do you do”.
You can also put in some problem cards. For example, “You were called to two parties, both good friends of yours. You could make it to only one. How does your friend feel? What would you say to them?” or “your classmate calls you home but you don’t go. How does she feel? What would you tell her?”
This could be difficult for kids at first but they will get a hang of it as they play. Try to take them to answers instead of telling them how to behave. Ask them questions so they can solve their own problems and deal with situations without your help.
There you go.