For many of us, life changed suddenly earlier this year. We found ourselves spending more time at home than ever. If your child is on the autism spectrum, you may have found yourself concerned with their ability to develop social skills during lockdown. While lockdowns rules are not so stringent as they once were, many children remain cooped up at home and unable to build these important skills. With this in mind, we’ve laid out some activities for developing social skills at home.
If you’re like many other Americans, there’s a good chance you met with your family virtually for Thanksgiving instead of in person. Video chat isn’t a perfect substitute for interaction in person, but it does come pretty close. In this situation, it’s a passable way to teach your child social skills at home.
If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to build social skills during COVID-19, use this to your advantage. Does your child have a friend who they haven’t been able to see since early spring? If so, see if you can contact their parents and set up a time to FaceTime. Perhaps it could even become a weekly ritual until school is back in session.
It may not be practical to find someone to video chat with for more than an hour or so every day. That’s okay. No one is meant to be a social being every second of every day.
Still, there are some resources available to help children learn social skills even when they aren’t actively being social. One of the best resources is, surprisingly, YouTube. A quick search such as “social skills videos for children” will yield tons of results that could be of use to your child, such as this one. Consider doing some poking around the web until you find something you think would be a good fit.
Part of growing up is learning social skills and etiquette in different situations and when speaking to other people. Many of these scenarios and different people aren’t likely to crop up too often in the current state of the world.
That’s where role-playing can come in. It’s likely been some time since your family was able to dine at a restaurant. You and your child could pretend that you are. This would give them a great opportunity to practice ordering food, as well as “please” and “thank you.”
It’s also important for children to learn how to communicate more politely with people such as teachers and other adults. Most often, children don’t speak to their parents in that way. You could set aside some time to have your child talk to you as though you were a grandparent or the parents of a friend.
Armed with these tips, you should have no problem teaching your child social skills at home.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.