In the natural course of life, toddlers usually interact with many other children and adults during their formative years. These interactions allow them to learn from other people, develop social skills, and to grow emotionally. When toddlers do this, they have a better chance of growing into a well-adjusted child, confident teenager, and an adult who works well as part of a team. But if you feel that your child needs some extra encouragement in the social department, don’t worry, there are some basic steps you can take, and great social skills activities for toddlers, such as TumbleTastics.
1. Arrange playtime with other kids
The best way to improve your child’s social skills and emotional development is to arrange for them to play with other kids. It’s also a good opportunity for them to make friends. Even though a lot of toddlers don’t really know how to ‘play together’ yet, they will often do what’s called ‘parallel play’. This means that they’ll play alongside other children rather than with them. But the more interaction they have, the quicker they’re likely to start playing together and learning about important concepts, like how to share.
Playtime with other kids can be anything from:
- play dates with other kids (e.g. at the park or your house)
- play groups
- day care.
While children who lack social confidence may find day care scary and upsetting at first, in the long term it can be a good way to build social skills and independence.
2. Go to birthday parties and social events
If your child gets invited to birthday parties or get-togethers, take them along. Even if they say they don’t want to go, or don’t want to interact with other kids much once they get there, over time this will likely improve. The more they are exposed to other kids, the more opportunities they have to grow, and the faster they will become comfortable interacting with others.
3. Attend group classes
In terms of social skills activities for toddlers, group classes are one of the best. When a child attends a class, the focus is on the activity itself, not on interacting with other children. So it can be a subtle, low-pressure way to give your child ample opportunity grow socially and emotionally. Instead of structured or forced interaction, children simply engage in fun activities with other children who just ‘happen’ to be there.
Our TumbleTastics classes are a really fun way for toddlers to meet and interact with other children. We use non-competitive gymnastics, music, games, and other activities to get toddlers moving and enjoying themselves. They can interact with other kids as much or as little as they like during the class, as they focus on the particular activity at hand. Very often, though, they’ll also make friends in the class.
Find out more about our TumbleTastics classes.
Swimming lessons are another great way for your child to meet other children, while partaking in a largely individual activity. Hampton Swim School runs classes for children of all ages, and will help your child develop their social skills and grow emotionally.