How important is social interaction for young children?

Young children are at a very impressionable age. All round development of a growing child requires all round experiences. Allowing your children and encouraging them to be more social and have social interactions can help them to develop these important life skills.

Social interaction is important for young children as it provides the experiences that aid the positive growth of a child. When they are young, they will be able to learn from social experiences and develop different social skills based on those interactions. As we get older, it is hard to learn from interaction with others and change our ways. A shy person is not going to suddenly change their ways and stop being shy because it is hard to make new friends, they may try to be more outgoing and they may be slightly successful, but they will most likely not be the most outgoing person in the room. A child who learns how to interact with others properly will have an easier time in social settings throughout the rest of their lives.

Social skills are something every human requires on a daily basis for the entirety of their lives, and the best time to develop good social skills is at a young receptible age. They need to learn how to interact with others and develop the skills to do this successfully. Through social interaction they can learn how to act and react to others. They figure out how to empathize with others and see things from their perspective.

While observation plays a key role in the social development of children it is not enough for a child to merely observe. Children are naturally drawn to curious behaviours and phenomena and interacting with them allows the child to develop an understanding of what is right or wrong, as well as help them understand the meaning of personal preferences at a young age. For example, if a young boy sees other children playing catch with a ball, observing may teach him that in order to play with a ball, we must throw it but interacting can teach the boy that the ball is not thrown aimlessly, and that there is a pattern the children follow to give each of them a chance. Through this the boy can also decide if he prefers to play ball or engage in other active. In other words, social interaction gives the children a feel of what the world is like.

Interacting with other children, parents or even the next-door neighbour, teaches children the valuable skill of communication. It allows them to portray and communicate their thoughts, emotions and ideas in a positive and comprehensive way. Through this the child is able to view the world in their own perspective and is able to understand it better.

Social interaction helps young children to start developing a sense of self and also understand what others expect from them. Children are naturally egocentric, i.e. they cannot view or believe that a perspective other than their own exists. If you see a 9 shaped figure and your child sees a 6 shaped figure it would be impossible for your child to believe that the two of you might be seeing the same thing differently. When children socially interact, it helps them to grow out of this phase naturally. Sharing, setting boundaries and problem solving all come from socializing and interacting. They begin to recognise different emotions displayed by other around them, they would be able to tell if their friend is happy, sad or mad at them. Eventually they would use these skills at home with their parents, siblings or even pets, which in turn ensures better communication between a child and their family members.

Socially interacting with different elements around them also help them to understand the concept of discipline and that their actions or behaviour have consequences. As they develop and pick up social cues they learn what behaviours or reactions are appropriate and which ones aren’t. For example, if finishing the vegetables on their plate fetches them a cookie after dinner they learn eating vegetables is a favourable behaviour and begin to apply this principle in other aspects of their life.

It seems like some children, like many adults, are more naturally socially adept than others. These are the kind of people others gravitate to and for whom making friends comes easily. Like any other skill, social skills can be learned. What is important, however, is that children are able to form meaningful bonds with others, can empathize and interact with others appropriately, and have the skills to adapt in uncomfortable situations

One can start by instilling social skills in their infants when they are very young. Babies are unable to tell you what they want directly. This means you will need to pay attention to the actions and non-verbal cues that your baby gives. When you know what your baby needs, give it to them. If that doesn’t work then you may have misinterpreted their needs, and you should try something else.

Adults sometimes make the mistake of assuming children play just to pass the time. This is not true. In fact, children gain most of their skills through playing. This is how they explore the world around them, and it should be encouraged for them to learn new skills while playing. Playing with others of their age is an important aspect of social interaction. While your baby is exploring their world through play, they will learn new skills. When the child receives positive feedback from parents and others around them, it makes them feel confident and secure in their development.

Developing social skills in children prepares them for a lifetime of healthier interactions in all aspects of life. Social skills are an integral part of functioning in society. Displaying good manners, communicating effectively with others, being considerate of the feelings of others and expressing personal needs are all important components of solid social skills. Therefore, social interaction is an integral part of a child’s all-round development.

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