“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Captain McFinn. I received a complimentary subscription to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
In our preschool class we know that Social Skills are just as important as learning ABC’s and 123’s. When kids are between the ages of 3-5 it’s so important for them to interact with others. Sending your kids to preschool, nursery in church or setting up play dates are the best ways to teach them social skills because they are supervised by adults who help them work out differences and arguments. This helps prepare them for Kindergarten.
Learning from a parent is very important also. If you are not as lucky as I am to be your child’s preschool teacher, there are things you can do at home with your child to help prepare them socially for Kindergarten. The things we are trying to teach our children are:
- Verbal Communication
So how do we teach our children these things at home?
Parents are ideal social teachers. Parents can draw on emotional resources when they interact with children.
Parents can understand the causes and effects of emotions and see things from a child’s perspective. They can interpret the emotions of others and match social interactions to a child’s developmental level. They can describe emotions verbally and regulate their own emotions. And they can appreciate the long-term consequences of social acts. Empathy, emotional self-control, and communication are best nurtured by you.
1. Play with them. Get down on the floor and play with Legos, Barbies and cars. Act as another child would when playing. Teach your child how to use his “calm words” when something happens that makes him upset.
2. Don’t coddle them. Believe it or not, your child is not always right. And they need to know that. Sometimes someone else is right and they need to learn how to work through that feeling of unfairness. You can talk them through the situation calmly so they can understand both sides to an argument.
3. Give them prompts. When a tough situation arises, whisper into their ear reminders of how to handle a situation. When my 4 year old son gets mad at his 9 year old brother, he tends to just blow up and start screaming. If I’m there I can calm him down and say things like “Is screaming going to get you what you want?” or “What can you do and say to make it better?’. And using prompts from the music I mentioned above I would say things like “Are you using your friendly voice?” “I can wait my turn.” “Stop and Think” and more. This reminds the child about what they’ve already learned and helps them understand that they are in that situation right now and they need to “Stop and Think”.
We like to play games to help build social skills. There are many games like “Mother May I?” or Follow the Leader the kids can play that teach them social skills. You can make puppets then put on a puppet show using a real life situation that happened that day. Along with games to play with others in real life, there are games kids can play on the iPad that will teach them social skills. Like Captain McFinn Swim & Play.
Captain McFinn Swim & Play is the first-ever children’s app, aimed at kids ages 3-5, that allows the users to truly interact and communicate back with a live host, who can praise the child’s accomplishments in the game and even call players out by name.
Captain McFinn Swim & Play allows children and their parents to touch content in a way never before done – and all in a secure setting alongside their friends. The host helps the parent and child navigate through an interactive experience, learning important pro-social life lessons, such as kindness and sharing, in a fun and engaging way. The iPad app, available from the Apple iTunes Store, is based on the popular Captain McFinn storybook character who lives in the undersea world of Sand Dusty Reef with his friends. The Captain McFinn Swim & Play app is available using a subscription model. The freemium subscription model offers 10 minutes of free play at the start of the game, with subscription tiers of 1-month, 3-month and 6-month periods. The pricing is $4.59, $3.59 and $2.59 per month, respectively.
The app complies with all COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) safety standards, so although parents/children can see the host, the host cannot see them. Through proprietary technology, the host reacts to prompts, responses and creations by the child and texts from the parent (through a secure chat box) to make the interactive experience truly customized.
I noticed throughout the game that my son was learning different social skills from different characters. Social skills such as sharing and politeness, creativity, playing as a group and respecting others. The interactive experience helped to enhance playtime because the host said my son’s name and directed him while playing the game. He thought it was so cool that she was talking right to him! He loved brushing his teeth, cleaning up the reef, and helping his other fish friends when they were sad. He loved learning about different kinds of fish and coloring them after learning about them in the art studio. He loved sharing his pictures with the other players too! It really is cool to have a live host there to talk to the kids. She asked us to make observations about the things we were seeing, then we sent her a chat message, and she told everyone else what we said. So much fun! My son’s favorite Captain McFinn Swim and Play character was Captain McFinn. He loved his gold watch and gold telescope.
Learn more about Captain McFinn Swim & Play:
Captain McFinn Swim & Play iTunes Store page: http://bit.ly/1xvFPO6
Captain McFinn website: http://www.captainmcfinn.com
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/McFinnandFriends
Only available for play on iPad devices
Must have a Wi-Fi connection
Best interactive experience with live hosts between 7a-7p PST.
For more ideas on learning social skills at home check out the Core Knowledge music curriculum, Stop and Think, to help our kids learn social skills. Each song focuses on a different social skill like sharing, waiting our turn, using our friendly voice, what to do when we get mad, etc. We love this music and recommend it to anyone with a preschooler on up to 1st grade. And here is a web site that has other fun Social Skill games you can play.