During the summer months we have plenty of family get-togethers – graduation parties, weddings, family reunions, picnics, days at the beach with family and friends. There are just too many celebrations and get-togethers in the summer to enumerate. All of these activities have life skills that we can teach and help our kids learn. Social skills are needed to deal with groups of people, for children and adults. These skills can be taught by example and as lessons for everyday life. And yes, as homeschoolers we often get asked how we “socialize” our kids. And the answer is … just like any other family, especially in the summer.
We all have to deal with other people whether they are family, friends or just people we come into contact with each day. We teach our kids how to interact with others by our example, by explaining how to behave in certain situations and helping them as they deal with family and friends. But kids can be overwhelmed when there are groups of people getting together. It helps if we prepare them before any events that might be coming up.
Certain ages have different social stages and social capabilities. Check out this post at Parents.com that describes what some of these stages and capabilities are. The thing to remember is that a 2 year old or 4 year old isn’t going to be able to handle the same situations as a 6 year old or a 10 year old, and we can’t expect them to either.
Some of the skills that we should be sure they understand before dealing with large groups and celebrations might be:
- Saying “Please” and “Thank You”
- Being able to share
- Being able to take turns
- Understanding personal space
These are just a few skills that can be explained, modeled, and taught before events. Remember they are kids and they might need to go over this more than a few times.
Showing and Teaching
This post at SkillsYouNeed.com discusses how we can teach and help our kids develop social skills. I agree that one of the most important ways we can teach our kids social skills is by example. If we want our kids to say please and thank you we need to do so too. Before a large gathering in our family I go over things that might happen with my kids. We play “what would you do” where we all think of things that could happen while at the get together. Then we discuss how we would, and should deal with it.
After all of this the next step is … to enjoy being with family and friends.
Do you do anything special to prepare your kids for a group events? I’d love to hear in your ideas and challenges in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Homeschooling With Tea’s mailing list.