I marvel at her as she uses her hands, tilts her head and raises her eyebrows for a full-blown toddler conversation. All the while the other child watches her movements with dedicated attention as they soak up her gestures. They seem to understand each other as the unknown tête-à-tête flows from one to the other. It’s an adorable scene but also one of natural, innate learning. What seems so normal to us, holding conversations, understanding one another, and making connections, is a large learning curve for our pre-schoolers who are intrinsically learning social skills which will set them up for life.
Social skills are the verbal and non-verbal skills we use every day to communicate with others, including; gestures, speech and body language. Understanding how to appropriately use these skills is a big step for our preschoolers who are learning to navigate their world and everything in it.
Unlike her sister, who at that age ran away from any small human, my youngest’s social skills are one of her busiest and best traits as she learns the boundaries of certain behaviors and absorbs appropriate conversation tools. Having an older sister to watch and learn from has meant she is one step ahead of her sibling when it comes to interacting with other children. But that does not mean I dropped the ball when emphasizing my eldest daughters’ social skills. Children learn at different rates and when she started pre-school her social skills flourished through friendships and positive interactions.
Most children are naturally social from a young age. Remember those first smiles and babbles? These are the earliest signs of social skills that keenly help to develop language.
In the early years, children are creative and excited to share their ideas with us. As they are learning to express themselves by watching everyone around them, social interactions are vital to their development and provide a base for how well they communicate, develop relationships later in life and their overall wellbeing.
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Issue 32 - Autumn 2019