Socially Effective Skills: Do We have to Fall in order to Learn?

Written By: Barnali Sarkar

Back in the days when I was a college student, we used to gather in the cafeteria to kill time and chat during recess. Those days we still believed in the old world charm of talking to each other. And since we didn’t have smartphones and 24X7 Internet back in those days, there was hardly much choice anyway…So on one such occasion, we got talking about how our silly antics used to irritate/embarrass our parents when we were kids. One of my friends, let’s call her Sue as I don’t wish to be socially incorrect by revealing her real name, regaled us with a hilarious tale. When Sue was all of 4 years old, she had the brilliant idea of asking a couple of guests what their names were and how many children they had. On being reprimanded by her parents, she turned around and questioned, “When grandma asks these same questions, it’s alright! But when I do the same, how come it’s a crime?” 

That day, we had all burst out with laughter. But today when I think about it, I realize how social skills define us as individuals. 

Our words, facial expressions, gestures, and body language go a long way in maintaining positive interactions, making friends, and most importantly, sustaining relationships. Kids too, face challenges in their daily interactions with family members, friends, peers, and other people in their social circle. For a moment, just imagine how life would be without any social skills? It would indeed turn the world upside down. We all know how children sometimes do just that, say what is on their mind regardless of the consequences. It is OK as a child but how do they learn to moderate their speech (and emotions in that respect) towards becoming adults? 

A collaborative study by researchers at the University of Milan (Italy) and the University of Manitoba (Canada) analyzed whether training children in emotion comprehension improved their social cognition The participants were 110 children aged 7 years old and divided into a training group and a control group. The study involved the reading of illustrated scenarios based on emotional scripts over a 2-month intervention program. It was seen that kids in the training group performed better in terms of emotion comprehension, the theory of mind (i.e., the ability to reason about other people’s thoughts and beliefs), and empathy. Moreover, the positive training outcomes for emotion understanding remained stable for over 6 months. 

Social skills such as sharing and cooperating make children contribute, participate, and get along within a community. And if you think teaching social skills to kids is simple, you are right!

One of the tried and tested methods could be reading out stories that have emotional content. The StoryMoment App makes telling stories an emotional experience because when you read our stories and talk about them with your children afterward, your kids learn about acceptance of others and self, and the importance of being patient, compassionate, and creative in terms of social skills. But most importantly, our stories convey that we do not make mistakes but simply learn lessons.

Let us do the homework for you in crafting the stories so that after a busy day, you can sit back and relax with your munchkin and enjoy our carefully woven tales that promote mindful introspection.  

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