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Six Ways to Develop Healthy Social Skills in Children

Social skills start developing from the time we’re born, through interacting with our parents. However, as our lives become more complex, so do our social connections and expectations. That’s why it’s important to ensure our children are picking up healthy social habits, which they will likely take into adulthood. If your child is not learning the right social skills, then it will not matter how much time your child spends with others. There are three key elements your little one should learn to foster healthy communication; self-control, empathy, and verbal communication. Here are six ways to help guide your child in the right direction when it comes to positive interactions with others.

1. Teach your Child about Feelings

If your child doesn’t understand how their behavior affects others, they probably won’t see a reason to act any differently. Not only will learning empathy lower the chance of your child acting negatively towards others, it can also help your child be better liked by others for understanding how they feel. One way to help your child develop empathy is by discussing their feelings with them. Ask them what makes them feel happy and sad, and why. By explaining that emotions are normal and what triggers them, your child may learn better coping skills.

2. Be a Role Model of Positive Emotions

Sure, even adults have bad days and feel irritable. However, since we (should) have a better ability to keep our emotions in check, we can guide our child’s behavior by example. If your child does something you don’t like, you can calmly explain why it’s wrong rather than resorting to yelling. Children mimic our behavior from an early age, and the way we react to situations and deal with others can have a positive (or negative) impact in how our children learn to interact. Good role models can leave a positive impression on your child for life.

3. Provide Age-Appropriate Guidance

Parents first should identify the stages of social development to optimize how you can positively influence your child. While every child develops at their own pace, knowing what social cues your little one should be picking up on could help you place more focus on that social skill. For example, 2- to 3-year olds are usually able to use greetings such as “hi” or “bye”, while 5- and 6-year olds can often identify behavior they don’t approve of and say, “stop”. By the age of around 7 is when your child can start learning the kind of empathy that makes them cry at another’s situation. This guideline can also help identify a child struggling with social anxiety.

4. Use Fun Games

Certain games and activities aimed at kids can help them develop social skills. For example, The Name Game helps children learn to address someone before engaging in conversation. If you don’t remember this particular game, it goes something like this: children form a circle and one of the children has a ball. Ask the child to name someone in the group and roll the ball to them. You could try a variation by having the children say something about themselves when they receive the ball.

5. Teach them Humility

Again, this is probably something that should be reserved for older children. However, teaching humility can go a long way in helping your little one make friends and play nice with others. While learning cues such as smiling and listening to others is important, “being able to laugh at yourself” is also an important skill to keep friends. In short, humility is the ability to remain humble.

6. Identify any Social or Emotional Problems

You may do everything in your power to bestow positive social behavior on your child, but they could still be acting out or not getting along with others. If this type of pattern persists, your child may need a visit to the pediatrician to determine if they have a social disorder. One growing problem in children is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can affect how your child treats others and focuses on tasks. According to research, it’s best to treat the behavior in the same environment the child is having trouble in. For example, if they’re acting out in class, then focus on getting them more engaged in classroom activities (with the help of teachers).
If your child is struggling with social skills, contact us and we would love to help!

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Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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