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Social Skills for Kids: 4 principles to teach at home to make kids comfortable outside of it

These are important social skills for kids to master.

With anxiety on the rise, especially among the younger generations, parents are increasingly concerned about their kids’ social skills.

Studio 5 Relationship Contributor Dr. Matt Townsend offers four research-based principles to teach kids at home, helping them feel more comfortable outside of it.

Get tickets to Matt’s Valentine’s Date Night on Wednesday, February 14 from 7-9pm at Murray High School by going to under “Live Events”.


4 Social Skills for Kids

Matt Townsend acknowledges the heightened levels of anxiety, particularly among younger individuals. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant impact on social dynamics, leaving many struggling to navigate social situations. Matt emphasizes the need to address this dilemma and equip parents with effective tools.

Four Research-Based Principles

Matt introduces four foundational principles designed to empower kids with essential social skills. These principles aim to ease anxiety and help children thrive in social settings.

  1. Be Curious

The first principle encourages kids to adopt a journalist’s rule – be curious. Matt highlights the power of asking questions and being genuinely interested in others. By turning the focus away from themselves and embracing curiosity, kids can engage in meaningful conversations and build connections.

Matt says, “All you really need to be is curious. The minute you ask questions to people, try to figure out what they’re thinking.”

  1. Get in Sync

The second principle he emphasizes is the importance of getting in sync with others. Matt explains that humans are wired for synchrony, and paying attention to others fosters emotional connection. By putting away distractions and actively engaging with those around them, kids can enhance their social interactions.

Matt advises, “Turn off the distractions and put your attention on the other. You’ll start to pick up more connection naturally.”

  1. Be a Light, Not a Judge

Positivity plays a crucial role in social interactions. Matt encourages kids to be a light rather than a judge, emphasizing the impact of bringing positivity to conversations. Avoiding negativity helps create a welcoming environment for meaningful connections.

Matt states, “Humans thrive on positivity. So, the more positivity you bring to the moment, to the situation, to whatever topic we’re bringing up, the better you are.”

  1. Show You Care with Sincere Service

The final principle focuses on the power of sincere service. Matt highlights the significance of charitable acts in building connections. By serving others, kids can demonstrate care and create a positive atmosphere in social settings.

Matt explains, “One of the greatest ways to connect to another human is just charity. Do a charitable act for the benefit of the other.”

The Charity Toolkit

To further support these principles, Matt provides practical tips in a charity toolkit. The toolkit includes ways to use words, time, attention, energy, and gifts to serve others charitably.

  • Serve the other person. At a party help clean up after, bring the punch bowl to be filled back up, do the dishes, volunteer to do the obvious thing that needs to be done.
  • Put people at ease. Change the subject if you see it’s too hard for some.
  • Retain confidences. Keep secret the secrets of others.
  • Don’t gossip or share stories of others without their permission.
  • Be loyal to the absent.
  • Use your contacts, insights, or gifts to make the other’s life better based on your conversation.
  • Don’t default to your favorite subjects. Make what is important to the other, important to you.

Matt advises, “Always be loyal to the human that’s not in the room. Don’t talk bad about someone else, because the minute you do, you show everybody how not charitable you are.”

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