Most parents and caregivers enroll their children in a preschool or daycare for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons are for childcare and educational opportunities. What many people don’t know is that preschool/daycare settings equip your young child with many socialization skills. Social skills such as sharing, taking turns, recognizing emotions, listening to others, respecting personal space, making eye contact with others and proper greetings are often learned through play in preschool. Developing social skills through play helps children learn empathy for others and helps them establish good communication skills. It also helps them build relationships with their peers.
Here are some examples of how social skills are taught through play:
♦Imaginative play: Imaginative play can teach children responsibility. When children play “house” or “school” they are practicing life skills that they need as older children and adults.
♦Puppet shows: Puppet shoes teach children how to listen and how to recognize emotions in others.
♦Simon Says: Playing Simon Says teaches listening and direction following skills.
♦Building with blocks: Building with blocks teaches problem solving. When building with others, children learn cooperation and listening skills.
♦Passing a ball/ball games: These games teach good sportsmanship, cooperation, sharing and taking turns
♦Puzzles: Puzzles will help children learn patience while sharpening their fine motor skills.
Simple things like sitting on the carpet with their friends can teach the children how to interact with others, wait their turn to speak and share ideas and emotions. Carpet time is a great time to work on greetings with children. Waiting in line is a great way to teach patience and teamwork. Proper hygiene is another important social skill that can be taught while at a childcare center. Most preschool and childcare centers will teach proper handwashing techniques, appropriate bathroom skills and proper use of a tissue. It is important for parents and caregivers to follow up at home and continue to model healthy social skills and provide opportunities for children to learn good social skills.
Social skills are an important part of a child’s development. Check out this website for more ideas regarding socialization in young children and for all of the age appropriate developmental skills.