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Building Social Skills: 3 Tips to Help Your Child Understand Others Perspectives this Christmas

Updated: Jan 10

With Christmas just around the corner, we wanted to dive into a crucial aspect of social skills development for kids: understanding others perspectives. For us at Talk Together this is a key area we always support kids in. It's the foundation for making and keeping friends, being seen as a kind classmate, and navigating tricky social situations. The research tells us that kids who have strong skills in seeing things from others perspectives skills have more friends and are seen as a potential friend by others.

So, how can we help kids develop this vital skill?

Well, Christmas offers a perfect opportunity. Here are three things you can do:

  1. Create something that another person will like: One fantastic way to support kids in understanding others perspectives is by involving them in creating something for someone else. It could be wrapping a present for a friend, crafting a card, or drawing a picture for a teacher. While doing this, chat about the recipient's likes and dislikes, highlighting the differences between what they like and the child's own interests. This type of chat helps children step into the other person's shoes, considering their thoughts and feelings. Understanding others perspectives relates to our ability to empathise, understanding that others have different thoughts, opinions, and feelings than our own. It's a skill that develops from infancy and continues throughout life.

  2. Keeping a secret: now, what to do about those little ones who can't keep a secret - they eagerly reveal what's inside a wrapped gift, unaware that it's meant to be a surprise? It's developmentally appropriate for little kids to spill the beans but it's also a great opportunity to support perspective taking. Engaging them in the wrapping process for others' presents is the key. Talk about what they know "You know what's in the present! You know we go a book for Nana." Then talk about what Nana doesn't know "Nana doesn't know what is in here. She hasn't seen it. It's a surprise!" Seeing that different people know different things is a key milestone in learning to take others perspectives.

  3. Showing gratitude to others: do you dread the moment when your kids are a little too honest? They may inadvertently hurt someone's feelings with their unfiltered reactions to not liking something they've been given. This is a great one for older kids- encourage them to shift the focus from their own feelings to the thoughts of the gift-giver helps. Practising some go to responses, such as thanking the giver for their thoughtfulness despite the contents of the gift, can be helpful. Talk about why we do this. Just as we don't casually comment on someone's appearance in a meeting, we teach kids the nuances of when honesty might be best tempered with kindness. For younger kids we can model some go to responses in the moment "Thanks Aunty!" "That's so kind you thought of me."

Seeing things from others perspectives is crucial for building and maintaining relationships. It's never too early or late to start. All kids benefit from tips and tricks to help them see things from other peoples perspectives! At Talk Together, we are always considering others perspectives within our groups, supporting children in developing these fundamental social skills. Check out our social skills groups information here.

To learn more about what we do at Talk Together click here.

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