In order to function successfully and independently in society, children must learn important social skills such as teamwork, cooperation, following directions, and self-control. In order to develop these essential skills, kids must be given ample opportunity to engage in social interaction and activities.
Why social activities are important and how they help kids grow
Engaging in social activities for kids can come with a wide range of benefits including greater success in school and stronger relationships with peers. One specific area that social activities have a profound effect on is educational and career outcomes. Research indicates that children who were exposed to more social activities throughout childhood were better at sharing, listening, and cooperating and thus were more likely to attend college and secure a full-time job by the age of 25.
Another reason social activities matter for kids is that they can help children develop the skills to create and maintain strong and healthy friendships and relationships. Friendships in childhood are linked to better mental health and have been shown to help manage stress and anxiety. Developing strong friendships can also help kids develop advanced social skills like conflict resolution and problem-solving. And as children grow into adolescents, strong friendships can also help them resist negative social pressure.
There are many socio-emotional activities you can try with your kids to promote the development of healthy social skills. One simple activity you can try is discussing emotions with your kids when they are experiencing an emotional episode rather than trying to diffuse the situation. As a parent, it’s natural to want to calm upsetting emotions, but instead, try asking your child to label how they are feeling. Labeling emotions can help children better understand their feelings and how to appropriately express them.
As your child develops, encourage friendships and team activities, and allow him the opportunity to negotiate and problem solve on his own without too much parent intervention. When conflicts arise, take on more of a coaching role and allow your child to talk through what they are feeling. This can be a great opportunity to talk with him about how he cannot control how others react to conflict situations, and he is only in control of his own feelings and actions.
If your child is experiencing difficulty with developing social and emotional skills, seeking treatment from a residential center like New Focus Academy can help.
New Focus Academy Can Help
New Focus Academy believes all teens deserve the chance to lead productive, independent lives. Our therapeutic residential program and specialized school give adolescent boys ages 12-18 struggling with social and functional challenges a chance to gain the necessary skills to live independently.
Through decades of experience and proven methods, immersive experiential activities, and a small, close-knit community, our students have the time to grow socially and emotionally while learning and applying valuable life skills. For more information, please call (435) 383-4369.