Raising kids is hard, and there is no sure-fire rule book for parents to follow. Problems are just part of being human, but it can be scary when your child has trouble developing at the same rate as their peers. However, most of the time this is not something to worry about, and your child is either just developing at a different rate, or they require a different approach than the current one. One problem that often scares parents is when a child has trouble learning socialization skills. Here at Rebounderz, our Apopka trampoline park is a great place for kids to socialize in a fun, regulated environment. If you’re looking for other ways to improve your child’s socialization, here are some helpful tips.
Know What’s Normal
Sometimes parents have trouble relating to kids because, well, kids and adults are different. Yes, we were all kids once, but we tend to forget that they’re essentially blank slates when it comes to our expectations. For instance, toddlers will very seldomly actually play together in a group, but will rather do what is known as “parallel play”, where they’re in the same area, playing with similar toys, but with very little interaction other than the occasional mimicry behavior. Once they get older, associative play becomes much more common, but during the transition they have no concept of social rules, so more supervision is necessary (to avoid conflict, and of course teach good conflict resolution habits).
One Step at a Time
When dealing with the transition of baby to toddler, and toddler to child, it’s best to take baby steps. Don’t expect your child to make any changes over night, or over a week, or even over a year. At a young age, what you want to do is expose them to social situations, not necessarily have them interact. Kids learn by mimicking, so this is an important step before being thrown into real social situations. If your child is older, you should still be careful about how they’re exposed to social situations. If they’re having trouble with friends, maybe move play dates to your house where they will feel more comfortable, or let them sit in to an adult party to get a little more observation in on how social interactions should work.
Teach By Example
As we mentioned before, one of the best ways to correct anti social behaviors is to teach by example. Kids learn how to interact with the world through mimicry, and there is no one they’re likely to mimic more than their own parents. When dealing with problems during child interaction, somebody taking a toy for example, show the child how to deal with it; go over the child with the toy and politely ask for it back. If the child acquiesces, then you’ve provided a great example of how to deal with peers. If they don’t, then you can use authority, and the children still have an example of how to approach social problems, and how to elevate them to the proper authority when their effort fails.
Know Your Child’s Needs
Not only are kids vastly different in their learning processes than adults, but they’re also different from each other. When trying to help your kid socialize, it’s important to know what makes them different from their peers. Luckily, as a parent, you likely have much better access to that information than most. The key is to play to your child’s strengths until they gain the confidence to work on other skills.
Hopefully these socialization tips help make your parenting job just a little bit easier. If you’d like to turn it into a big event, check out our Apopka trampoline park, and all the fun activities we host. Give us a call for more information.