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Effective communication is a fundamental life skill that you must nurture in your child from an early age. The ability to effectively communicate has an impact on their learning process and paves the way for a meaningful exchange of information. A child who can clearly communicate his or her thoughts, feelings and ideas in a classroom setting is more likely to succeed academically. Developing good social communication skills also enables them to better socialise with peers and express their feelings clearly, inevitably forming healthier relationships.

Social communication skills refer to the skills involved when utilising language to engage effectively in day-to-day social interactions – how a child says something, their body language during the interactions and its appropriateness in a given social setting.

Here are some tips to help your child improve their social communication skills.

1.Demonstrate a habit of greeting

Often, your child emulates what you do rather than what you teach them to do. You must first demonstrate and practise the right way to greet people such as family members, teachers, the receptionist, the cleaners and even the garbage collectors. Encourage your child to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to everyone regardless of their stature during social interactions.

2. Exhibit courtesy and politeness

Practise exhibiting courtesy in your everyday communication with your child via direct or indirect language.  Be polite in your conversations with them and others. When they play music too loudly or scream when playing, instead of raising your voice and saying, ‘Keep quiet!’ or ‘Turn off the music!’, you can try saying, ‘That’s a little loud’ or ‘Could you please reduce the volume?’

3. Engage in role play sessions

These sessions can involve close family members or playdates with other children, aimed at replicating social situations like attending a function, having a get-together with friends and family, or even visiting family members.

4. Curate creative stories together

Utilise this time to teach your child to organise their thoughts properly while creating a story together. During this journey, teach your child proper social etiquettes and ways they should behave in social situations. You could start by creating stories around going to the cinema to watch a movie and teach your child proper mannerism as well as the Do’s and Don’ts on how to behave while the show is on.

5. Utilise mime and puppets

You can craft creative stories with your child by using puppets. Strategic games such as charades are also effective ways your child can practice their nonverbal communication cues by learning to describe things using gestures, facial expressions and mime.

6. Play games that involve taking turns

Card games, board games and memory games are great ways to practise taking turns with your children, teaching them that winning and losing is all part of the game. It is also a great way to demonstrate good sportsmanship, so teach them to play fairly and most importantly, to have fun in the process!

Social communication skills are crucial for your child as they navigate the world. They will encounter more interactions that will require them to present themselves well within various social settings as they grow older. As a parent, your responsibility lies in equipping them with the right attitude, mindset and communication skills for them to be able to create lasting, positive relationships with other people, whether in their work or personal lives.