Social Development of Your Child During the Pandemic
Created by Shalini Singh Updated on Jun 15, 2021
What is Social development ?
It is a process by which a child learns to interact with others around them. This refers to making friends, dealing with agreements and disagreements and the ability to interact with others.
Children who have good social skills find it easier to maintain good relationships which leads to a positive impact on their wellbeing. Isolation as a result of the pandemic is deteriorating the social skills of children and their overall development. Parents are obviously worried and seeking out ways to counter this.
We spoke to Parentune Expert Counseling Psychologist Kumkum Jagadish who gave useful and practical tips for parents to make sure they do the best for their child in the current scenario.
Challenges During the Pandemic
1. Play is important in social development and helps your child develop communication skills, leadership skills and skills that are required to become a good team player. During the pandemic, this has been significantly affected. However, you need not worry, there are activities that you as parents can do with your child to help with social development.
2. Social development in a child takes place through interactions with neighbors, community, interaction with teachers, friends and schoolmates. These interactions also help the child to build their self esteem and self confidence. It also helps the child form their identity. Again, this has been majorly affected with restricted movement.
How can a parent help
1. Set aside time with your children to communicate
In the times of the pandemic, you can set aside time with your children to communicate. You can talk about how you are planning your day. This can help and encourage the child to have their own plan for the day.
By the end of the day, you can talk about how your day went, what were the difficult incidents and how you overcame it. Open communication helps the child to open and share their thoughts too. You could also ask your child what they think did not go well for them during the day and what they did to overcome it. You could share tips and coping strategies with each other. These conversations should be a part of your family's routine as these will foster social development and will also give you family time.
Besides this, you can also make sure that your child is interacting with friends on the phone or a video chat. You can organize for online play dates. If you have older children, you could encourage them to connect with their friends. Family meets with grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends enhance communication skills.
2. Role play
Role play can also help a lot in improving social skills. Your child can role play telephone conversations, role play a day at the park and have imaginary friends playing at the park with them.
You can put forth imaginary situations through role play like, "oh there is a crowd for the slide, let us wait in line for our turn" or ``oh''this boy wants to play with us, come let us share our toys .
You could also encourage your child to put on a puppet show where the child can make up his story and make his soft toys/puppets interact with each other.
3. Model good social skills yourself at home as well as with relatives.
This will help your child as they will do things they watch.
Things To Keep in Mind
1. Do not force your child to talk to people they don't like, or have conversations. That will only make them avoid the situation.
2. It is important to encourage them, but also understand their fears and help them overcome their fears by practicing at home with them. For example, if your child is scared to interact in online class, help them take small steps, one at a time. Understand what the child is scared of and accept it. Tell them that you will help them overcome it and support them.
3. Appreciate and encourage them regularly.