We get to say ‘OMG parenting’ with many different inflections. I know because I am a parent. Also, I have been looking into the faces of babies, parents, and grandparents for over 20 years in my work as a clinical and public health nurse. I have felt the joys, hopes, disappointments, traumas, grief, fears, concerns, laughter and love of parents and children. I have heard their thoughts and feeling. I have seen their actions and the effects of those actions. I have interacted with the myriad of professionals who weave in and out of family life. Because of this and being a parent, I have a great appreciation for the range of experience that exists within and between each parent and child.
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Parenting Q & A
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I’m hearing parents say their kids are lacking social skills since covid, wondering how to help them. If this is you, here are some ideas:
First, know what social skills you are talking about, as there are a lot our dear ones need to navigate their worlds. For example:
- following directions
- cooperating and using manners
- showing empathy
- sticking up for oneself
- asking for permission or help
- waiting your turn
- deciding what to do
- dealing with teasing or losing
- listening to others
Some ideas for helping your children develop social skills:
- Online for all ages:
- Web sites that offer fun activities kids can do within video chats that you can do, play along with them and their friends (e.g., Caribu, Messenger Kids, and Jackbox Games).
- Write stories together online – maybe play with you start it, next person continues it and on through all attendees until the story is done. Be sure to include different scenarios and let your children creatively resolve them. It will help when they meet up with the situation in real life.
- Read together – discuss where was there empathy, sharing, anger and how was it expressed. With younger children, have them point out different feelings on faces on the page. For all ages, reinforce how the characters work out situations.
- Use puppets and toys to play – purposefully set up social situations
- Get those playdates going! Younger kids in particular will start to work out the communication if given time. Be careful not to nitpick how it goes with them! Having a playful activity to at least start out the playdate helps.
- Older children:
- have ‘rehearsal conversations’
- Share your dilemma’s (appropriately for your child’s maturity) and ask what they would do. Discuss.
Know that your children will catch up! Remember, communications is an ongoing training in work environments! Point being, we never stop learning about communication.