Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Practice social skills at home.

What you can do

Work with your child on using certain phrases and other positive solutions to social dilemmas. Practice as often as possible to help her test out these behavior strategies in the relative safety of home, where you can provide honest feedback and encouragement.

Keep in mind that kids with learning and attention issues can have trouble remembering something they know how to do. This difficulty in calling up skills or strategies applies to social situations as well as schoolwork. You can help your child get better at calling up a social strategy by encouraging her to use it frequently.

What you can say

“Sofia, you’ve indicated that moving from lunch to class is tough because your friends have difficulty settling down. You’ve told me that you don’t want to get in trouble with the teacher but you also don’t want to hurt your friends’ feelings.”

“Let’s run through a couple of things you could say to them so you can get your ‘inside voice’ going as you walk back to the classroom. You might say ‘OK, Jess, I would love to hear more. Let’s be sure to talk about it after school. But right now I need to get my head back into my schoolwork. Mrs. Harrison always likes to hit the ground running!’”

“How does that sound, Sofia? Let’s practice saying this a few times together.”

Why this will help

Practicing social skills at home will make it easier for your child to perform in the more pressure-filled settings of school, parties, sports and other kinds of activities. The more she believes she can quickly call up strategies she knows, the likelier she is to use them. And every time she uses a social strategy successfully will build confidence for the next time.

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