People who have never spent a minute of their lives reading about or researching homeschooling like to say things like, “BUT WHAT ABOUT LEARNING SOCIAL SKILLS!?” and “Aren’t all homeschool kids super awkward and weird?” Even though research shows that homeschooled children tend to have superior social skills to traditionally-schooled children, friends and family and random acquaintances with strong opinions all think that our kids aren’t learning how to properly interact with others.
I’m a big believer in the importance of teaching social and emotional skills. Since my son is an only child, I often use stuffed animals and dolls for the activities I come up with (he also goes to a play group during non-pandemic times).
Teddy Bear Tea Party is great for teaching empathy and taking care of others. He also gets some side skills in like practicing fine motor control and developing his vocabulary and communication. He takes turns giving food and drink to himself and each of the animals. If he gets hyper-focused on one animal, I tend to do a mildly melodramatic, “Oh no, Pooh Bear is really thirsty! He hasn’t had any milk in so long!” My son will suddenly shift his focus and become very worried about Pooh Bear, giving him a big hug, apologizing, and giving him some milk along with extra love and attention. Now that he’s older, I’m so amazed by how thoughtful and empathetic he already is for a child who’s not even 3 yet. He always notices when my glass of water is empty and asks if he can get me something to drink from the fridge. So sweet!
What activities do you use to teach empathy and taking turns to your only child (or what did you use for your first child)? Comment and let me know!