Sending a child off to school for the first time can be incredibly nerve-wrecking for both the child and the parents. But developing your pre-schooler’s social skills early on, will help make the transition easier, as well as equip them with the skills they need to have meaningful relationships with their friends, family, classmates and teachers.
Unfortunately, there’s no set formula when it comes to teaching social skills. You have to take into account individual differences such as age, background and personality. While one child might naturally love interacting with their peers, others can be shy and will therefore prefer individual activities.
What works for one child may not work for another so it’s often a case of trial and error. Below we have listed some different ways you can help your child learn and develop good social skills to help prepare them for starting school.
Send them to pre-school
Some parents feel guilty about leaving their children at pre-school and others fear their little one is simply too young to be placed in such an environment. There’s no need to worry however because pre-school is a fantastic way to prepare your child for entering the education system. The parents guide to EYFS is a great resource which offers guidance on how you can help to prepare your child at home.
Here they will learn how to share, contribute and develop the social and emotional skills they need in order to get along with other children. What’s more, it can also help to enhance their learning experience. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), (http://nieer.org/) children who attend a high-quality pre-school, enter school with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies and stronger basic maths skills compared to those who don’t.
At Tigers Day Nurseries, we help children to develop their social skills in a number of ways.
- When children are ready, we move them up to one of our three Cheeky Monkeys toddler rooms. With 12 children in the largest room and nine in the other two, this opens them up to wider socialisation. They are also encouraged to play together in our sensory bubble room, dance studio and in the great outdoor play areas.
- Our newly-constructed outdoor play area is full of stimulating toys and resources. This gives our pupils ample opportunity to play and socialise with their friends while enjoying exercise and fresh air.
Socialise them with different age groups
Pre-school will most certainly enrich your child’s life but it’s important to mix them with all different age groups. Spending all day, every day with same-aged peers isn’t necessarily the best way for young children to learn about cooperation, sharing and emotional self-control.
This is something that children can only learn from adults or older children. These individuals know how to behave appropriately and they can use their insights to teach pre-schoolers how to cope with negative feelings, take on someone else’s perspective, express sympathy, resolve conflicts and build and maintain friendships.
Encouraging your young child to pursue a hobby is a great way to build social skills in pre-schoolers. It can also teach them a number of important lessons that will stand them in good stead throughout their school and working life including:
- Learning how to express themselves
- Building self-esteem
- Setting and achieving goals
- Solving problems
- Making decisions
- Working as part of a team
- Learning responsibility (turning up to their class or practice every week)
- Encouraging creativity
- Enhancing their education (through reading and learning new skills)
If you would like further information or advice about building social skills in pre-schoolers, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Tigers Day Nurseries and our experienced professional team will be more than happy to help.