In the digital age, kids might be very tech-savvy when it comes to playing the latest game or using social media, but then suffer from a little social awkwardness when it comes to talking to their peers. From kids (and adults too!) who stare at their phones during a meal, to children who would rather text than talk to someone who might even be in the same room, it sometimes might seem as if people are forgetting the importance of having positive real-life interactions with others. And while it's certainly very worthwhile that kids know how to use technnology for creative expression and the accomplishing of important tasks, it's also of great importance to make sure kids succeed in life through developing great social skills!
At Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids, we understand how important it is for kids to have fun and learn - but also be encouraged and motivated to succeed in life. Following are some tips that might be useful in modeling and helping kids with social skills!
Do as I say, not as I do? Parents can sometimes be overly critical of children, but then neglect to observe how their own behavior may be questionable as well! Kids who live in the same household as an adult will observe how adults behave and act, and will often times imitate this behavior - whether a parent likes it or not. If adults are spending a lot of time looking at social media (on the phone or computer), watching TV, and playing games, kids are going to want to do this too. If at all possible, it's best just wait to do these activities when the kids go to bed. And let's face it, who wants their kids to grow up and tell their own kids that their parents spent a lot of time on social media instead of being out making memories and having fun?
Spending Time Together: Kids learn how to communicate with other people through personal interactions. For example, meal time is a great occassion to teach children how to properly engage with others through observing body language and carrying on a conversation through listening, asking questions, making eye contact and more. Another great opportunity is reading a chapter from a favorite book each evening, and having a conversation about what the characters experienced, thought about, and the child's own thoughts and feelings about it. Of course, even playing a game or watching a television show together can be useful for interacting with kids as long as parents find moments to pause and talk about it during or afterwards.
Speak Up! In social situations where kids may be present with other adults, a parent can sometimes want to say too much for their kids. For example, at family gatherings when another adult asks a child a question about what they've been learning at school - parents can sometimes want to answer for them if the child looks uncertain about how to respond. However, if a child is shy or has trouble talking to adults, a parent can help train their child on how to talk in these situations by setting up imaginative scenarios where the parents pretends they are someone who asks a certain question - and then coaches the child on how they might best respond in the future. These pretend scenarios might include how to greet someone, shake hands, starting and ending a phone call, starting and ending a conversation, and more. Have fun!
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