Do you want to keep your kids academically sharp and focused during the summertime that doesn’t require a reading list and that can increase your child’s academic scores by 11 percent?
A recently published study in the scientific Journal of Child Development found that teaching lessons in social and emotional skills, the very essence of workshops taught at socialsklz:-) in NYC and the tristate area, cause children to be more interactive and to react and process emotion better than through traditional academic study. The report found that:
”…teaching kids social and emotional skills leads to an average 11 percentile-point gain in their academic performance over six months compared to students who didn’t receive the same instruction.”
The study also found that programs were effective for students of all ages and from different ethnic groups, regardless of whether their schools were in urban, suburban, or rural areas, the analysis found. “Such programs do not detract from but can enhance academic achievement, while providing students with stronger skills in areas that are important to their daily lives and future functioning” explained Joseph A. Durlak, emeritus professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago and the study’s lead author.
The problem is that the basics of good social skills are often not taught. It’s assumed that kids learn these skills through osmosis and their own social interactions, yet their interactions are often via text or Facebook. And when parents step in, it often comes across as “corrective” and “nagging” with a lot of push back. Time away from school, chock-full of summer fun in a myriad of social settings, is the ideal time to teach these vital life skills that last a lifetime and that can lead to a more fruitful life at school, on the playground and eventually at the workplace. I see firsthand in through our workshops how enjoyable and confidence building these lessons are for kids of all ages.
5 essential social skills lessons that you can incorporate into the summer:
1/How to Shake Hands-your child will make a first impression with his/her handshake for the rest of their life and knowing how to shake properly is confidence boosting! Start with the basics-stand-up hands meet web to web, smile, make eye contact, shake firmly 3-4 times and introduce yourself. Go over each detail and then have your child walk outside and ring the doorbell as a first time guest.
2/Making Good Eye Contact-maintaining eye contact is often very difficult for kids, but is imperative-show your child the difference of making eye contact vs. not making eye contact during a conversation with your child. Ask which he/she prefers. Next, look at each other for 10 seconds in the eyes to show that it’s possible. Do the same exercise and look at your child’s eyebrows. Ask if he/she noticed. If there is any trouble making eye contact kids can look at eye brows instead.
3/Exhibiting Good Body Language-the body says a lot without your mouth knowing it! Have your child sit on the couch and tell him/her you’re going to walk into the room as 2 different people. Once you’re done
ask which person was happier, more confident, friendlier, etc…Discuss with your child how quickly you make an impression based on your body language. Have your child do the same exercise and also discuss the impact grooming and clothing have.
4/Starting and Maintaining a Conversations-conversations are like soccer games. If one person dribbles the ball around the field and doesn’t pass, there is no game! Take out a tennis ball and ask your child to ask you a question and pass the ball. As you respond to the question, you can pass the ball when you ask that person a question. The object is to keep passing the ball back and forth, which is the key to a good conversation. No one wants to be listening for an entire conversation!
5/Thoughtfulness and Empathy-while some children seem to develop empathy more naturally than others, all children need help for this skill to grow. Parents should begin teaching them as early as possible by getting into the habit of noticing teaching moments and seizing them. Take the opportunity to show how to respond to another child falling on the playground or how to be kind to an upset friend. This creates a seamless transition for children in understanding verbal instructions to later being able to act.