5 Ways to Foster Social Development at Home:

  1. Monitor and limit screen time at home.
    ○ This is tricky for many families! We use technology for just about everything these days. And while it is great to use computers, tablets and
    iPhones for work or educational purposes, the amount of screen time used for “entertainment or amusement” should be limited to 2 hours or
    less. Instead, try building in social face-to-face time with your family at meals or right before bed. Check out what the New York Times
    reported about screen time use and children: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/a-reconsideration-of-children-and-screen-time/?_r=0
  2. Consider signing your child up for a team sport or group organization.
    ○ Consider activities such as scouts, soccer, basketball, etc. Often times, your child’s school can be a great resource for after school activities.
    One example is the group, Girls on the Run; an organization that fosters self-esteem, friendship and fitness in young girls.
  3. Get outside!
    ○ Self-regulation is a huge component of social skill development and making time for movement can help foster these skills. Find time to ride
    bikes, head to the park, or play with the neighbors. Not only will this provide excellent sensory input for your child, but there will likely be
    other children for them to play with and practice their social skills!
  4. It’s okay to let your child lose.
    ○ While we want to build self-confidence and make sure our children succeed, it is also important for children to learn how to handle rejection
    or failure in a safe place. Try having a family game night and use those “teachable moments” that occur naturally. Be sure that you are also
    modeling good sportsmanship!
  5. Be the change you want to see in your child!
    ○ Children often mirror the behaviors they see in the environment around them. They will imitate other peers, older children they look up too,
    their teachers,…and you! Be mindful of your own actions. Do you make eye contact when your child is talking to you, or do you tend to be
    looking elsewhere (like at your phone or a paper, etc)? Do you tend to use a lot of sarcasm, either to your child or other adults? While your
    child might not be picking up on the fact that you are being sarcastic, they are picking up on your tone of voice and responding to other
    non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions.

Are you interested in learning more about social skills and your child? Come check out the next installment of Emerge’s Parent Education Series: Spring into Social Skills! This parent education course will include an introduction to understanding social skills, how they are learned, and the role they play in learning and development. Education on current curriculums will be provided, including Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® and Leah Kuypers’s Zones of Regulation®. This course will be an interactive presentation and is open to current Emerge families as well as any interested parents in the community. Refreshments will be provided. Please call or check out our website for more information.

Blog Post by Anna Housman, MS, CCC-SLP and Brooke Brees, MS, OTR/L