In the contemporary world, learning to understand every child’s developmental stages is paramount to grooming brighter and cultured adolescents. As a child matures, he goes through broadminded developmental phases, from birth into later life. Therefore, environmental, genetic, and cultural factors can all affect his development.
However, how a child quickly progresses from one stage to the next is worth knowing. For instance, it may be difficult for children to explain what they’re going through in their difficult times, which makes it necessary to monitor and analyze their feelings as a parent. Hence, studying how a child perceives the world, educating your child on how to relate with their peers, and mentoring them as they process new emotional states and vicissitudes are all part of your responsibilities as a guardian or parent.
This article expatiates the benefits of interpersonal skills and how they can be improved in children.
Table Of Contents
Definition of the two main terms: Child and Interpersonal Skills
The Benefits of Interpersonal Skills
How to Improve a Child’s Interpersonal Skills
Definition Of The Two Main Terms: Child and Interpersonal Skills
For the sake of this article, it is essential we understand the basic definitions of the following concepts;
- Interpersonal skills
According to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); a ‘child’ is defined as an individual who is beneath eighteen years, while Wikipedia defines a child as a person between the developing age of early stages and puberty.
However, according to ‘Merriam Webmaster Dictionary’, interpersonal skills means the performances and strategies that an individual put into practice to interrelate with others excellently. This ranges from communication and listening to attitude and deportment. These skills involve the ability to communicate and build good relationships with others.
In essence, the lack of interpersonal skills can result in communication, emotional and social deficit in a person.
The Benefits of Interpersonal Skills
Children’s social life is an important part of their development and one of the ways to ensure that a child has a proper one is to work on their interpersonal skills. In effect, when children communicate efficiently, they will be able to establish and retain a good social connection.
For example, at Perfect Angels Learning Center, our system encourages and implement activities such as group assignments (like games and sports) for children, to foster group communication and productive teamwork.
Respect and Empathy
The more children communicate with one another, the better they understand one another. Due to such interrelationship, respect and empathy can be built. On that account, as a parent, you ought to educate your child to understand the plight of others. For example, when conflict occurs, they should apologize to settle amicably.
Such instances can help to improve a child’s emotional intelligence.
How To Improve A Child’s Interpersonal Skills
As a child grows and mixes with other children at school and/or other social states of affairs, they improve a variety of interpersonal skills that will become the foundation of their disposition in adulthood. Children frequently require aid or direction for networking with others suitably, to overcome introversion or to manage and comprehend their sentiments and moods. Hence, it is important that parents and guardians maintain a good balance of help and encouragement, correction and discipline to improve a child’s interpersonal skills.
Thus, seven (7) interpersonal skills your child must have to succeed includes;
- Verbal Communication
- Non-Verbal Communication
- Listening Skills
- Problem Solving
- Decision Making
Verbal communication is the ability to express an idea by making use of words. As a parent, ensure you pay attention to words and voice tones whenever your child expresses himself. For instance, when your baby begins to speak, communicating with him can boost his articulation.
This has to do with what a person says through facial expressions, eye contact, and body language. Developmental psychologists states that babies actively communicate without words through engagement and disengagement cues, in subtle or potent manners.
For example, as a parent, you could observe how a child reacts to toys and flashlights. Also, they express their satisfaction through smiles or throaty wailing, which can help you understand their preferences.
How a child actively listens and responds to verbal and non-verbal messages is an essential part of a child development. His listening skills can be improved by catching his eye, keeping instructions short, and giving good feedback.
For instance, a mum of 3 children (boys) explains how she often make her two year old listen to her;
“When Richard (the child) refuses to listen, I would sit him down on my lap, calm him down, and hold his face. I would ask him to listen to mommy, and when he looks straight into my eye, that’s when I would give my instructions.”
Negotiation is the act of giving and taking. It portrays how your child resolves dissimilarities with his peers via cooperation and agreement. Also, this skill can be developed by setting up scenarios that would allow a child to present his case and practice his conciliation. Typically, development psychologist stresses the importance of letting children resolve issues between themselves.
Furthermore, negotiations can be better improved by introducing a single toy to two or more kids to observe how they would take turns playing with the toy.
This requires having a child use rational and resourceful skills to identify a problem, quest for probable choices, and chose the preeminent clarification. One of the ways to improve this is by assisting and supervising your child in evaluating a problem.
An Australian Mental Health professional advises parents to do it in three steps:
- Identify the problem. (Select a noiseless arena, particularly anywhere the child can be at ease enough to reveal his difficulty.)
- Discover resolutions and attempt them. (Suggest 2 or 3 possibilities with promising questions.)
- Check in to discover the outcome. (For instance, ask your child if the solution is helpful. In case it didn’t work, what can he do in its place?)
A mum communicates a circumstance where her eldest son Liam became bullied in school. She says, “We had to pilot him on how to control the case by asking him questions and sharing my own know-hows with bullies. Gratefully, he developed the ability to tackle the predicament by himself and turn his bullies into friends.”
This rises from making choices of the dress a child wants to wear for school to the book he wants to read before bedtime. More composite lifetime selections can generate good or bad significances that can have emotional impact on your child.
Cultivate these specific interpersonal skills by continually inquiring (so he can establish his own answers) and allowing him to implement his verdicts (so he can become accountable for his picks). However, parents are advised to also try the following five techniques:
- Establish requirements
- Classify options
- Weigh the pros and cons
- Present the worst-case scenario
- Jettison options
Assertiveness depicts how a child rises for himself and communicate his opinion in a candid, vibrant, and applicable mode. This term also means placing other person’s state of mind, requirements, and prerequisites into thoughtfulness. However, one of the ways to improve a child’s assertive behavior is by demonstrating such comportment and presenting cases when your child can speak for himself/herself.
During a certain international interview, a woman (Mrs. Lizzy) discloses how she regularly educate her son about this important life skill.
“Telling him constatntly that to say ‘no’ and to be assertive are not wrong. Thus, I frequently let him know that if a person tells him to do a particular thing that makes no sense to him, he can ask questions. Offering him the chance to resolve things by himself and allowing him to make his own selections are inordinate techniques that can improve his interpersonal skills.”
With maternal and paternal supervision and continuous inspiration, a child can ripen these interpersonal skills and develop good experiences and become an highly adaptable individual.
Interpersonal skills are significant gears that need to be polished on time due to the fact that they command how a child will communicate with other children and prosper in lifetime. As the ancient saying goes, “no man is an island,” hence, it is by social relations that a being formulates his personality, cultivates long-term relations, and scales through misfortunes.
How you (as a parent) relate with your child will offer him foundational concepts of socialization. Therefore, be mindful of what you say and do around your child/children and take note of the skills that you can help them improve from birth.