How to Help Your Child Become More Social (In the Real World)

How to Help Your Child Become More Social (In the Real World)

How to Help Your Child Become More Social (In the Real World)

 

I recently attended an end of year celebration for the home school community to which my daughter belongs.

I’m always energized by the electric charge given off by all the students, their family, friends and the staff of the school. For a moment in time there are no negative vibes; we are all gathered to cheer on and recognize all the hard work done over the course of the school year. Is there another time or place when so much positive energy is exuded?

Next to seeing my daughter receive recognition for all her hard work and cracking up at the antics of some very interesting children; was the key-note address.

There were several key points given in the speech but the one point that resonated the most was the importance for children to be a part of a positive non-virtual community.

Reflecting on this caused me to think of my 8-year-old, who as of now still loves to play outdoors and create his own adventures with his friends.  I want to protect and nourish his sense of creativity and adventure, so when he is indoors I encourage him to read, explore and imagine.

Lately I’m noticing however, that when he is indoors he is not just watching his shows, but he is gaming or playing games simultaneously happy to be alone in his own virtual reality.

Talk about not being present in the moment.

The imploring of the speaker as he cautioned the students about the reality of virtual reality prompted me to think about the effects of social media on today’s child.

What I discovered was this:

Our children are being dubbed Generation M for media, an article written by the American Psychological Association shares some startling information on the impact the amount of screen time has to our children’s health, social, academic and psychological well-being.

Per the Pew Research Center  73% of our children own a smart phone but only 10% actually speak to their friends. While that is certainly not an issue for our family, yet I know other parents who share concerns for their children.

In another study, we see that, 92% of our teens go online every day and nearly that number of children report have seen or been or have been victimized by bullying. We have all seen reports of the devastating effects of students who have been bullied.

The more I researched the more I vowed to provide my children with the opportunities for positive, tangible face to face communication and socialization. I will continue to read the book I wrote, to open the door for conversations with my son to share with me what goes on in his world.

So, what can you do to help your child navigate the waters of the social media and social interactions.

Here are four suggestions:

  • I am partial to etiquette classes so I will recommend seeking an instructor in your area. These classes are extremely useful for instilling a sense of confidence and building self-esteem in children.

  • Expose your children to social and cultural events, visiting an interactive museum are great ways to introduce your children to the arts and provide them an opportunity to learn and communicate ideas.

  • Get outside, go to a local park, join an organization, club, play a sport this is another great way for your children to connect with their peers and learn how to interact with their peers and with adults. Family

  • Volunteer, have your family get involved with a local charitable organization, there is nothing that brings our children more in touch with humanity than when we are extending an act of kindness to another.

These are only a few of the ways we can ensure that we are exposing our children. I would encourage you as parents and caregivers to join me on this mission to make sure that our children remain a part of a village of like-minded people who realize that we were created for more than virtual socialization. We need positive human interaction.

What are some of the ways you encourage socialization with your family? I would love to hear your ideas.

*some photos courtesy of the American School of Protocol

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