The Importance of Socialization for your child
Do you know that along with the other important elements necessary for proper personality development, socialization for your child is also a key component?
Every parent wants their children to learn and interact with the environment and other people, and grow up to be wise and responsible individuals. Socialization plays a very important part in this, by familiarizing children with what to do, how to react and interact in a society, how to live with people of diverse backgrounds and preferences and so on.
So, the sooner your child is able to socialize and interact with their environment, the higher chances they have of growing up to be supportive individuals with open minds. If you want your child to develop some key socializing skills, then you need to help them interact with children of their age at an early stage.
How to Help Your Child Cross the Social Milestones
It is imperative for every parent to know that along with all the other physical and emotional developmental milestones, there are certain social milestones which also have sound importance in grooming the personality of a child.
If you want to make sure that your child passes the social milestone gradually, and successfully overcomes any problems or hesitation in socializing with people, then there are a few effective methods you can use.
Promote Interaction with Children of Similar Age
The best way to make sure that your child gradually moves out of the isolated baby age, to one where they are willing to interact with a new friend, requires some thinking and planning.
Toddlers’ Social Interaction
If your child is a toddler, it might be a good idea to invite another child of the same age to your place, and have the children play together. You don’t need to prompt them too much at that early age, but leave them together, to judge and maybe try to communicate with each other.
Make sure that you are ready for any crying or complete refusal to socialize with the new child. Toddlers are very jealous of their playing territory and loathe sharing their toys with anyone. It may be a good idea to just introduce a new child in the vicinity without sharing anything for a few days.
It has been observed that with time, toddlers lighten up and don’t mind a new toddler in their playing vicinity. But most still prefer to play alone. This gradually changes to include other children in the game as well.
Social Interaction for Young Children
With a child older than one year, you can be more ambitious. You can invite a child of the same age to play at your house and ask your child to show them their toys and play with them. However, be cautious. The concept of socializing will take some time to get used to, and both children might just not be willing to share at first.
Be prepared for it and don’t be disappointed. As soon as you sense that the children are becoming restless, it is high time to end the play date, so that the visit ends on a good note.
You can also take one or a couple of other children to the zoo or park with your child, to give them an opportunity to interact with children of their own age. There is a chance that your child might enjoy playing with one or a couple of children their own age when they can choose whom they like best, and that would break the ice!
Arrange a Play Date at a Friend’s House
Another good way for your child to learn from their environment and grow their social skills is to arrange a play date at a friend’s house. Be prepared that the first visit will surely have some hiccups. You might not even be able to get back home before you receive a call that your child wants to go back home now!
All this is absolutely natural. Your child is not used to leaving their home and going to new surroundings, and is also used to having you around at all times. Up to that point, if your child has been used to you, a devoted nanny, and caring grandparents, new faces are sure to scare them a little at first.
Try to make sure that the social visits continue. Your child will eventually relax in the company of a new friend.
Trying Out a Group Play Venture
Once your child has grown accustomed to playing and socializing with a special friend of their own age, it is time that you expand their social circle and broaden the opportunities for their learning. Wait for the right time to introduce them to the idea of playing around with not just one, but a group of kids at a time.
At first, your child might feel that it is too overwhelming, but will eventually give in to the idea, and maybe even enjoy having so many friends to play around with.
But make sure that you keep a sharp ear out for any kinds of disagreements and possible fights or cries, and intervene at the right time, with an invitation for volunteers to help you lay the table, bake some biscuits or place all the toys in piles in the corner.
Having the chance to interact socially with children of their own age, belonging to different backgrounds, will help your child develop much needed social skills properly.
Benefits of Socialization for Your Child
After learning to socialize, your child will be able to reap benefits like,
- Learning key social skills
- Being more confident
- Learning about their surroundings
- Learning how to deal with and play with multiple children at a time
- Developing the ability to share
- Developing empathy for others
- Being more understanding of the problems of others
- Becoming a more kind and caring individual
By helping them socialize at an early age, you can help your child successfully cross an initial social milestone and grow up to be a person surrounded by successful relationships and friends!
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.