Humans are naturally very social beings. We work, eat, play, learn, and live with other people all the time. The social skills needed to navigate our increasingly digital world have shifted, yet the value of these skills remains. Teaching our kids about these social skills can be something of a gray area, and it’s important to do your research about how best to develop your child’s social skills. The following gives many resources and ideas for this very dilemma.
There are various pros and cons of the increase in technology use among youngsters. Technology allows us to connect with far away friends and family, to use educational websites and apps, to prepare kids for careers that use technology, and has made great strides in the support of individual with special needs. But it also has many dangers like technology addiction, online predators, cyber bullying, and lack of face-to-face social skills.
So how can we raise the next generation and find a balance in technology use?
Teach your kids that technology is a supportive tool, but not a necessity for all of life’s problems. Set screen time limits or have a “Phone Free Zone” area at home. Encourage them to solve problems without googling the answer. Show them that you yourself can solve problems without technology, much of what kids learn is from observation of the adults with whom they spend time.
Teach social skills in the context of the internet and in the context of face-to-face. Encourage eye contact when they are speaking with someone. Let them see you working through self-regulation of emotions. Model positive behavior like deep breathing, thinking out loud, and communicating your feelings. Take the kids out in public so that they have real experience in social situations.
Check out the resources in your area, like us, The Children’s Museum! From now through May 26th, we are hosting a travelling exhibit called “XOXO Love and Forgiveness”. The exhibit explores social skills through many different activities. Visitors learn about empathy and compassion by writing kind messages, learning about tone of voice, practicing gratitude, and learning to appreciate each other’s differences.
Make use of your technology to find resources. Below you’ll find several links that helped provide information for this very post. Dive in to find tons of details, tips, and ideas for being the best social skills teacher of your children!