Supporting Your Child’s Social Skill Development

Happy New Year! We’re just going to do a
short video today about social skills and developing the capacity to connect
as well as teaching the rules of social skills and the rules of engagement and
why we think this is important. If I was to learn a new skill, maybe I was going
to learn archery and someone sat me down and they taught me all the rules of how
to hold the bow and shoot an arrow and maybe we studied diagrams and we talked
about what we would do in different situations. I still wouldn’t be ready to
actually shoot an arrow until I’d had some practice, until I’d built that
muscle memory, until I’d learnt to be strong in the right places and use my
grip properly. My capacity to hold a bow and arrow needs to be built at the same
time as my understanding of how I’m gonna shoot this thing. And really that’s
the same for social skills with our young children. In typical
development we teach our children the rules, sometimes we’re a little bit heavy
with the rules at the same time as we let them practice. And they practice
don’t they! They practice and they practice again. We let these things
happen in parallel. Often for our older children who are still struggling with
social connection and with community problem-solving, we take them out of the
class and we put them into groups and we go over the rules with them again
and we teach the rules in different ways and we can teach them with characters
and we can draw pictures and we can do worksheets. But we need to also be making
sure that we give them that practice that happens in typical development – the
practice that they need, which is many many times over to see how
they can build that muscle memory, how they can build that capacity to connect,
to stay calm when you’re frustrated because someone doesn’t really
understand you or because they don’t want to share that toy with you or
because you don’t want to share that toy with them. All those skills that build up
towards social problem solving and multi causal thinking and being able to hold
someone else’s mind in your own mind, they take practice. And so social skills
is something that can be developed beautifully in play and
playful scenarios. It can be developed in the middle of activities
of gross motor sports and fine motor crafts as we sit alongside each other,
as we enjoy shared experiences – we’re building the capacity to connect. And a
skilled facilitator we want you to be bringing in that practice and the rules
we don’t throw the rules out but we go beyond the rules and we support that
child so that they can have one two three four five multiple times where
they fail or succeed and come back and try again in a supportive and nurturing
atmosphere. At STAR we really like to do these social groups like the crew
social group and the trampoline social group with activity-based curriculums
and plans for the session, where the children can come together and
maybe they’re not focused on learning skills it’s maybe not called ‘social club’
it’s maybe called ‘trampoline club’ and they come together they focus on the
trampolines they have a great time but they negotiate, they share, they choose
different music together and so on and all the time the facilitator is helping
remind them of the rules and also practice, practice, practice, stay calm,
stay regulated and keep the other person’s mind in mind. Another really
cool project that we’re excited about is called critical core and it uses
role-playing games to support the development of social capacity and
capacity to connect. Critical core uses tabletop role-playing games much like
Dungeons & Dragons that have been adapted so that children are rolling a
dice working together as a team and taking on fantastical characters. So
we’re running this group starting in January at STAR and our other social
groups are starting up again soon the link to sign up will be in the comments
below but also if you want to find out more about the critical core curriculum
or any of our other programs that we run please write in and let us know critical
core can be found at and I hope you’re just as excited about
it as we are.

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