Help your child understand her social missteps by talking about cause and effect. Show her the connection between something she did or said and the response she got from other kids. When she’s calm, replay a recent social situation and use freeze-frame to point out specifics that caused or contributed to the chain of reactions.
Talk about each aspect of the event to help her see what she could have done differently to affect the outcome. Likewise, when a social interaction goes well for your child, specifically point out what she did that contributed to the success of that event. Praise her for any positive steps she took during the social interaction.
Use these conversations about cause and effect to help her get better at predicting what will happen the next time. Work on social prediction skills at home by pausing TV shows and asking your child how she thinks the characters will react.
What you can say
“Sofia, you seemed surprised and upset yesterday when Jade wanted to go home early from your playdate. I know you like Jade and would like to invite her over to play again. Maybe we can figure out what went wrong and make it better.”
“Let’s play a little game and walk through the playdate to see if there might have been something that made Jade want to leave early. Let’s start at the very beginning. What was the first thing you did when she got here?”
“OK, let me pause you for a second. Why do you think she reacted that way when you said she couldn’t use your new markers? How would you have felt if you’d gone over to her house and she was playing with something cool but wouldn’t share it with you?”
“Do you think what you said about the markers might have made Jade feel sad or maybe a little angry? OK, let’s talk about what happened next.”
Why this will help
It’s often hard for children with learning and attention issues to see things from another person’s perspective. This is why they may totally miss the connection between what they say or do and other people’s reactions.
By hitting the “replay button” and walking your child through a social situation, you can help her see what triggered certain responses. This can be eye-opening for your child. Showing her very explicitly will be as helpful in improving her social skills as it is when she’s working on academic skills.