Social interaction for children seems like a big concept when talking about the littlest person you know. The Lego Foundation white paper, “Learning Through Play,” describes it as “…sharing one’s mind, understanding others through direct interaction, and communicating ideas…” It does seem like a pretty grown-up concept, but it’s essential to understand its value in raising a confident child.
Children have their first critical social interactions with parents and siblings. Later opportunities come through daycare, special events, playdates, classroom learning, and organized sports. Throughout these experiences, children are developing their strengths and building a framework for developing their grown-up selves.
Social Interaction and Play
Of course, when we talk about social interaction for children, we’re usually talking about play. Daniel Marston, Ph.D., explains its significance in his article, “Understanding Why Play Is So Important For Children.” When children interact at play, they develop cognitively and socially. They learn new ways to manage challenges. Play gives children independent opportunities to develop skills they’ll rely on throughout their lifetime.
When children interact socially, they learn early to play and work together. A child’s socialization can involve tossing a ball, playing tag, attending a birthday party, or remaining quiet during the reading circle. During these simple tasks, children learn to follow the rules, take turns, and cooperate. They learn to meet new expectations and gain empathy for others.
As children interact with one another, they discover new communication tools. Through interaction with children from different families, cultures, and neighborhoods, they acquire new words and contexts. They develop new ways to express themselves. Through storytelling, children learn both the value of sharing personal experiences and listening while others speak.
Children learn to compromise and negotiate by watching and interacting with their families. They practice and refine their resolution techniques while interacting with other children. Whether a child plays a board game or a ball game, they learn that it requires compromise, turn-taking, communication, and sharing. They use their social skills to prevent or stop conflicts so they can continue playing.
Opportunities For Growth
Social Interaction for Children begins with parents and siblings. As a child’s little world expands, they include new people, new skills, and new perspectives. Children learn empathy as they respond to another child’s distress. They develop creativity through role-playing games, storytelling, shared artwork. Children gain confidence as they learn to navigate social experiences with and without their families.
Contact The Learning Center
If you’d like to learn more about children and social interaction, visit our contact page or give us a call at (860) 643-8639.