Your child may not know how to react in some situations. Perhaps he is too shy to talk, perhaps the words don’t come easily and he may not know what to say. He may not know how to ask the shopkeeper for help if he can’t find what he needs. He may not know how to talk to other children or strangers.
The best way to deal with these and similar situations is: Social Skills Training. You don’t need to employ a therapist, you can do it yourself. This system is easy and effective and fun.
1) Talk to your child and together decide what is the one thing he needs to learn most of all. It may be talking to people, it may be making friends or any other issues he is having problems with.
2) Together decide on the ONE thing that you will tackle together.
3) Tell him or her that you are going to help him.
4) Tell him what you are going to do and make it a game.
Here is an example:
Say his difficulty is being too shy to talk. Talk to him about what could happen if he is shy, he might get red in the face, he might stutter, he might say something silly, other people might laugh at him etc……talk about each one of this possible outcomes. Act them out, make him laugh when you say something silly, when you stutter. Help him to accept the risks, explain everyone has the same fear and yet people still talk, they still say silly things, they still get red but nothing happens. Explain that everyone has the same problem but they get over it by getting used to it. And you are going to teach him how to get over the shyness.
Give him an easy task to work towards overcoming the shyness. Ask him to say “Hello, Good morning” for example to the Lollipop lady who helps him across the road. If he doesn’t have this opportunity, select someone else he can say Hello to. If he manages to say it, give him a warm smile and a hug and tell him it is going to get easier each day……..
When you have identified any problem, find a simple action which will start the process of teaching your child how to overcome it. Develop the skill and get your child used to talking to people by helping him to expand his repertoire – How are you today? It’s so hot today. Any simple short sentence in any language, which doesn’t lead to a conversation but are good practice for him on the road to full communication.
Later you expand the conversation and make little rehearsals, act it out together. You are the lollipop lady, you are the teacher, you are the shop keeper. Act it out and make it a game.
Once he has mastered this, and is comfortable about greeting people you go on to the next stage. This system is very effective and can be used to tackle any social skills problem.