Promoting Social Competence in Young Children - Simple Methods and Techniques
By Andrew Loh
Your child will start interacting with others, right from the stage
of birth. Soon after the birth, your child will interact by using
her or his fingers. Tiny babies can easily interact with you and
other people. Your baby can easily listen to voices and sounds
emanating from different sources. They can express their displeasure
by crying; crying is an effective social interaction tool used by
tiny babies to let their caregivers know that they need something.
When babies grow and become physically strong, they can make eye
contact with others and smile at those people who feed them. They
will also emanate sweet sounds when someone hold them or play with
However, all these social responses are minimal and they are common
to all babies in the world, unless there is something wrong with the
overall health of babies. These responses will invariably happen
whether or not someone tries to induce them into the baby's brain.
Social competence or affability is not just about these common
responses. It is more about how your children mingle and interact
with others that include strangers. As your children develop, they
will need to upgrade their social interaction skills in a rapid
manner. It means that you will need to teach and train your children
about the basics of social competence as they grow and enter their
In fact, adults and older children in your home are the base models
for younger children for teaching how to behave and interact with
other people. It is a very common fact that younger children learn
and behave just like older children and adults. Hence, it becomes
very important for all parents to develop a culture of social
competence among all members of the family.
Your children's social competence skills enhance or increase very
rapidly during their preschool years. In other words, preschool
years are the basic years of social competence foundation. All
children are different with different moods, temperament and social
skills. Remember that your children are different too. Some children
may face unique challenges and tricky situations, when they interact
with their teachers and peers, while others are very bold and
socially interactive with an outgoing nature. Whatever the case, you
will still need to help your children hone and sharpen their social
Here are some simple yet effective techniques that will assist your
children to enhance their social competence skills:
Modeling Children's Intrinsic Behavior
Behavior modeling is possibly the most useful technique that can
help your children enhance their social skills. Here, you will
slowly, but surely model your children's behavior in such a way that
they develop their social competence skills. You will teach them all
possible niceties in their mannerism. When you say a simple “thank
you” or “please”, you will be encouraging them to repeat those words
for others. In fact, you will be telling them indirectly how to act
in a diplomatic manner by using these words. Model your children's
behavior on the lines of the basic principles of “give and take”,
when both of you will be interacting with each other socially.
Ask your children to help you out in your daily chore. When you
invite them this way, they will learn how to work as a team.
If they offer their hand of help, accept it immediately. This simple
gesture will make them closer towards you and others in the
Observe your children very closely to check what they are doing. If
a situation arises, get ready to help them in their work. This will
help them work as a team by interacting with you socially.
Praise good behavior and try to correct bad behavior; tell them
about the disadvantages of bad behavior.
Share and Give from Heart
Good feelings, good opinions and social courtesies are the
foundations stones for better social competence. Make sure that
there is enough kindness and generosity among the family members.
When every member of the family, develop this culture, then you can
see a marked improvement in the social behavior of children.
Talk to your children how they can be kind and empathetic towards
others. Make them understand the power of showing kindness and
generosity to others.
Provide them opportunities to show their social skills. If
possible, talk to each other and discuss how you can enhance your
social competence skills. You can even discuss about how all of you
can relate with others who are outside the family.
Children should understand what empathy means and how using it
can help them to develop meaningful personal relationship with
others. Let children think or imagine what others are feeling or
Fairness Towards Others
Bad behavior, bad mouthing, using bad words and teasing are some of
the socially unfair activities that can hut others. These incidents
can adversely affect how other people think and feel about you. Your
children should know how to treat others in a normal yet human way.
Same things can happen to your children, when other children treat
them in a similar manner. Make sure that your children learn how to
speak well about others and how to be good towards others.
Provide enough examples of incidents when someone felt bad soon
after they receive scolding and bad words. Give an example of how a
child starts weeping when another child treated him or her in a bad
Explain about the benefits of using good words and expressions and
how they can help your children in setting up lasting relationship
with other people.
Keywords that your children can use to develop social competency:
Do you need help?
Social competence is all about acting and behaving in a pleasing way
that helps your children live peacefully with other people. Social
competence can help them in a big way, because it is a tool to
extract help and assistance from other people. It is also a system
that helps assist other people to extract benefits and advantages
from your own children. Societies and civilizations were built and
developed based on mutual social dependency and civilizations
thrived just because of this factor alone.
Activity-based Approach to Developing Young Children's Social Emotional Competence
By Jane Squires
This book describes how to implement social-emotional (SE) interventions with young children
(birth to age 5) in their daily environments. The target audience is professionals who are
working with families whose children may be at risk for SE difficulties, such as families
living in extreme poverty and those who are experiencing mental health problems or substance
Another target audience is early interventionists who are working with children who
have an identified disability or who have experienced some biological risk (i.e., low birth
weight, in utero exposure to drugs or alcohol).