Here are 4 tips that may help your child develop positive social skills to build friendships.
1. Visual Aids
Visual aids supplement words with pictures, diagrams, or other visual information.
- Allow important information to remain accessible in a child’s environment, which greatly reduces the stress levels and inappropriate behaviours that children may exhibit when they cannot effectively communicate or when they do not understand the expectations of the environment.
- Visual aids can be found on the internet by printing out the appropriate picture cards desired or by asking your friendly Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist.
To help children learn to communicate with others, you could use the following illustrations:
1. A child looking at another child.
2. A child smiling at another child.
3. A child moving towards another child.
4. A child asking another child if he can play next to him.
5. Two children playing side by side and smiling.
2. Practising Play
Practise play skills with your child by using toys to act out a scene. Playing games together helps your child practise turn-taking, coping with winning and losing, and following rules.
Activities such as rolling, bouncing or kicking a toy or ball between you or older children might like to play table games like Connect Four, Jenga or card games.
Role-play can help your child learn and practise skills to encourage playing with others. For example, before another child comes to visit, you and your child could:
• Do a role-play where your child suggests what to play with the other child
• Play the games that the children might play together.
Practise talking about things like what your child has watched on TV or what your child did on the weekend.
For older children you could also try setting up situations that involve a social problem – for example, having one piece of cake left over for two people. Then you could role-play possible solutions, such as, both people sharing the cake.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Every time you notice your child adopting any social behaviours, congratulate them and show your child how proud you are. Everyone enjoys compliments. Positive reinforcement may motivate your child to continue to adopt this type of behaviour.