If your child has poor social skills, there are various ways that you and your child’s nursery school teacher can help. These include attaching a child to something or someone that raises their standing, or giving a child a responsibility that will boost confidence.
Opposite pairing This involves pairing a solitary child with a child who is outgoing and sociable. By being seen as the friend of a popular child, the less socially adept child will gain a significantly higher level of social acceptance in a short time – in some cases as little as three weeks.
Younger pairing Pairing a child with poor social skills with a younger child can be another way of conferring status. A study carried out in the 1980s showed that when unpopular children, their level of popularity increased by at least 50 percent. Younger playmates offer positive social experiences to less socially adept children, which helps build their self- esteem and assertiveness.
Clique activities Although it might seem bad for children to form small, exclusive groups within a large group, allowing them to socialize in their preferred clique motivates them to get along with their peers outside the clique. Clique- based activities give children a sense of security and confidence about all social relationships.
Small groups It is sometimes mistakenly assumed that a child with poor social skills will socialize more easily when surrounded by a big group. In fact, small groupings are better at facilitating friendships because in a large group a child with poor social skills can remain very much in the background; in small group, he can’t be ignored as easily. A nursery school teacher can help by placing such a child in small group – say three or four children – and then extending the size of the group gradually.
Star responsibility Establishing definite roles, such as giving the most popular children responsible tasks to do, appears to have a settling effect on all children of nursery-school age. Tasks could include giving out the straws for milk or organizing cleaning up. Children will less developed social skills appear to benefit from this strategy as much as other children.