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We are officially halfway through summer and, even though you planned an ideal summer for your child, full of camps and vacations, social skills seem to have taken a backseat. Or, maybe your child is having a great time in our Extended School Year program or another camp or summer program, but you have more time over the summer to work on some skills.

No matter the situation, the summer can provide many children with a unique opportunity to further enhance their social skills in a more relaxed and enjoyable environment. 

By incorporating some intentional activities into your child’s routine, you can play a key role in  honing their social skills, boosting their confidence and overall well-being. 

  • Encourage Cooperative Play

Cooperative play is an excellent way for children to learn how to interact, collaborate, and negotiate with others. Encourage your child to engage in activities that involve teamwork, such as putting together puzzles, constructing Legos, or playing board games. These activities promote communication, problem-solving, and sharing, helping your child develop crucial social skills.

If your family enjoys being active, take a ball, frisbee, or other outdoor game to a local park. Help them practice following the rules of a game, supporting their teammates, being a good sport, and taking turns with others.

  • Organize Playdates

Summer is the perfect opportunity to arrange playdates with other children. By fostering social connections with peers, your child can learn skills in a natural setting, such as sharing, taking turns, and resolving conflicts. 

Prior to the playdate, use dolls, action figures, or stuffed animals to role play potential interactions they may have with a peer. Go through potential responses the peer might have, and what the child can do in return

  • Cultivate Empathy and Understanding

If you feel like your child needs some improvement when it comes to understanding and respecting the feelings and perspectives of others, encourage them to participate in activities that promote empathy. They can take some of their free time to volunteer, to help a neighbor, or to do something for a friend in need.

When watching TV with them, pause every so often and ask what a character is feeling. Then, ask why they are feeling that way. Eventually, they will gain a greater understanding of the world around them.

  • Develop Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict is an inevitable part of social interactions and, if your child has siblings, it can be near constant. You can teach your child healthy ways to resolve conflict by encouraging open dialogue, active listening, and finding mutually agreeable solutions.

Role-play different scenarios with your child in a calm setting, allowing them to practice resolving conflicts without added pressure or stress. That way, when conflict arises, they feel empowered to navigate these challenges.

  • Embrace Technology for Positive Social Interactions

Yes, we are always told to limit our children’s screen time, and excessive screen time can hinder social development; however, for some children, adding technology can be beneficial. Some children learn some social interactions and gain ideas for what to do with friends from watching TV shows. Others engage in online gaming communities or communities related to their unique interests. In both instances, you are giving your child an opportunity to connect with peers.

The summer break offers an ideal time for enhancing social skills. By remaining patient, providing guidance, and celebrating progress along the way, your child will build strong social skills that will prepare them for the school year.

Social skills is a key component of our instruction at West Hills Academy, as these skills help us navigate and learn more about our world. Personal growth for the whole child is always at the forefront of our education plans, as we want to see your child grow and thrive as much as you do. Reach out here to learn more about our programming. 



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