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Are you modeling good social skills?
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
One of the most important things we do as parents is helping our children develop social skills for their future.

Social skills are the building blocks for developing good relationships with others. Some of these skills, like sharing and taking turns, can be learned in the classroom and on the playground. But really, these fundamentals come from the lessons taught at home. Some children learn by observation. Others need more direct instruction or more frequent reminders. Take time to encourage and nurture your children's social skills in order to prepare them for the future. The following are some tips for teaching good social skills to your children:

Model Appropriate Actions and Behaviors
Children learn through our actions. Model patience while waiting in a long grocery line. Talk politely on the phone (even when it's a solicitor). And consistently use "please" and "thank you" in everyday conversation. It's not always easy to remember, but keep in mind that your children are watching and learning from you, every step of the way.

Praise Desired Behaviors
Positive reinforcement is always great. Pointing out even the smallest thing that your child does well and letting him know how proud you are can help encourage the repetition of desired behaviors. For example, "I like they way you sat quietly until I finished my phone call. What game would you like to play?" Or, "I'm so proud that you shared your toys today with your friends!"

Practice, Practice, Practice
Encourage your child to practice new positive behaviors whenever an opportunity presents itself. Say "good morning" to classmates on your walk to school. Say "thank you" to the parent who holds the gate open. Exhibiting patience often needs to be practiced, repeatedly. If your child interrupts when adults are talking -- or when you're making a phone call -- teach her a non-verbal cue she can use to let you know she wants to talk once you finish your current conversation.

From your own family experiences, do you have any tips to share about teaching social skill to children?
An_222095 responded:
I know a child that is almost 9 years old. This child use to go to school and other activities with other children. Two years ago, the parents decided to home school the child. The child has 2 other siblings, one older, one younger. They are all home schooled. The mother most of the time does not teach the children. They play games or watch tv. This child has no friends. The mother is on medication for mental problems, but most of the time they can't afford her medication, so she is not medicated as she needs to be. This child has always had a favorite little stuffed doll. Within the last 6 months, this doll has to go every where with the child. The child pretends to feed the doll, and will become very upset if told the doll isn't real. The child will say something to the doll, and then in a little voice will say something back using the childs name as if answering.
I am concerned for this child that since there are no friends or activities in life, is turning to a coping mechanism to be able to make it. I have spoken to the parents about getting these children back into school, taking them to church, taking them to activities with other children. They say they can't afford it as the father is unemployeed. The parents are having major financial problems, marriage problems, and health problems. The house is always dirty. They have been turned into child services several times, and nothing has come from it. I am very concerned about all 3 children. The oldest child has ADHD and Asburgers. This 8 year old child has always been very out going, is very creative with art and singing. But has turned to this doll so much. I'm very concerned and want to know what I can do to help this child. I am a relative that can have an impact in the childrens lives. I'm very concerned for all three of them. I just don't know what to do.

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