How a social skills group can benefit your child
Social skill groups are small groups, typically consisting of about two to eight children and led by an adult, usually a trained therapist. The focus of the group is to help children learn how to interact appropriately with others their age. In a social skills group, children learn how to communicate, develop new friendships, acquire problem-solving skills, gain control over their emotions and pay attention to other people's point of view.
Typically, children learn social skills and customary code of polite behavior, such as knowing when to say “please” or “thank you” simply by observing those around them. However, children with attention issues face difficulty in grasping these social interaction norms.
Social skills are much more than being able to communicate with others. They play an important role in building relationships and being successful in life.
Social group facilitators design various activities like role-playing, games, educational exercises, etc. which help the child learn how to navigate various social situations. The activities are targeted to the specific problem the child may be facing. Occasionally, he/she may find it difficult to start a conversation and other times, they may struggle to keep the conversation going. Taking part in social groups helps them learn from their friends and also allows them to understand body language.
How a social skills group functions:
Every social skills group has a vision and a defined purpose. The primary objective is to help children function according to the expected behavior from their age group.
Children observe others when they are a part of a group. This gives them the opportunity to see a live demonstration of how to behave in various social situations. They are also educated on how to behave and respond in various social situations.
Children are taught a lot of things but what is important is how to help them use what they have learned in their daily life. In a social skills group, children learn first-hand how to behave in various social gatherings, how to greet others, how to maintain eye contact, etc.
Social skills groups teach children conventions and standards of social behavior. Once the children are given live demonstrations, it doesn't end there. They need practice. In a social skills group, children encounter various social situations in a pressure free approach purely for practicing purposes
Motivating children is a better alternative to punishment when they fail to understand a certain task. Providing encouragement and reinforcement helps the child believe in themselves. The goal of a social skills group is to ensure that children know what they have done right and areas they could have done better. Simple sentences like ‘I like what you were doing’ or ‘you did a great job’ can be used. Children are also given toys or other incentives when they participate in various activities conducted.
A social skills group prepares children to adapt to different social situations that they may face outside the group. They are observed for their reactions to someone outside the group and appropriate support is provided to ensure that they are able to communicate with ease.
Social skills group can offer tremendous benefits for your child as he/she acquires vital skills to manage everyday activities as well as skills that would support them for the rest of their lives.
From learning how to greet a person they want to start a conversation with, to learning how to keep a conversation going, and how to take turns while speaking - these are subtle but extremely important aspects of communication.
At Stepping Stones Center, we encourage children to follow an interactive learning format. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about social skills groups and how you can enroll your child into one.