Some skills are quantifiable during development—language skills, math skills, etc. But what about the softer skills that don’t come as naturally, like social skills? Children with ADHD often struggle with making friends and maintaining relationships. Many parents wonder how to build social skills, but often don’t know where to start. Our eight strategies involve social skills activities and other techniques that can boost your child’s confidence in his or her own capabilities.
Rehearse Acceptable Responses
ADHD in children can be difficult to recognize, especially for peers. Many children with ADHD are misinterpreted wrongly because they do not communicate the way other children do, and this difference can be confusing for their classmates. Rehearsal is an excellent way to teach your child acceptable alternatives to rude or harsh remarks. During this time, you should also emphasize maintaining eye contact and having a calm body demeanor.
Observe and Intervene
Observing your child during a play-date offers valuable insight into his or her current skillset. At any time during the play-date, be available to intervene if your child is struggling. If your child makes a rude remark, you might suggest more appropriate alternatives immediately to help him or her improve.
Encourage Peer-Pairs at School
Many teachers pair students together for projects and classwork. Collaborations such as these allow children with ADHD to practice their social skills. Speak with your child’s teacher to see if he or she can implement more collaborative work the classroom.
Encourage Friendships at Home
Children with ADHD may be more comfortable socializing in the home setting because it is familiar to them. Invite your child’s friends over to play games, watch movies or enjoy a pizza night. You can monitor, intervene and model appropriate social behavior in a space where your child already feels comfortable.
Wait for Cues
Children respond better to constructive advice when it is presented at the right moment. Instead of offering it right after a heated argument or similar event your child experienced, wait until he or she has shared their feelings and is more willing to hear you out.
Improve Your Relationship with Your Child
Children that have strong relationships with their parents may be more likely perform better socially. Parents should plan to spend quality time with their child several times a week. During this time, don’t bring up any symptoms of ADHD. Instead, focus on having fun and getting to know your child better.
Build on Your Child’s Interests
If your child is passionate about something, you should encourage it to help him or her develop higher self-confidence. Group activities such as team sports or art classes can be especially rewarding for children with ADHD.
Lead by Example
If you model excellent social skills, you can be sure that your child will learn from your example. In addition to this, you can also explain to other parents that your child is struggling socially. Once they understand the situation, they may be more willing to setup play-dates and fun outings.
Teaching social skills can be fun for both you and your child. If you feel that you could benefit from additional support, contact us directly today!