Keeping Social Skills Alive


Riley Slikker, Journalist

Social distancing has some parents and psychologists worried about the lasting effects it could have on young children. While physical distancing is crucial right now, some parents are starting to worry that their children are starting to fall behind development wise. 

Social interaction is a huge part of childhood development. Not only do children develop important friendships with their peers, but they begin to develop important social and communication skills. Preschool is often the foundation for social development because it’s usually the first opportunity for children to learn how to interact with peers, and because children aren’t able to experience that right now has some parents worried.

“Continue to interact with them and just keep talking with them.” replied school psychologist Kathleen Slikker.

  For those parents who are worried and want to provide their children with extra help, they could tell their children details about  what other people in their lives are doing. Parents could say, “I bet your friend Tommy is brushing his teeth right now just like you,” could help their children emotionally connect with peers.

Parents can turns playing games, develop empathy by responding to their emotions in a caring way, and even making  their children feel more accomplished when learning a new skill to help build their child’s social and emotional skills. 

There is little to say about the lasting effects social distancing can have on children because it has only lasted a few months. Quarantine has been a big experiment in everyone’s lives.  At this point, only time can tell. For now, families should take this as a time to unplug and really listen to each other.