Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Lost Ball - A Social Skills Story

The Lost Ball - A Social Skills Story


Dr. Daniel Goleman writes about the value of social intelligence (SI) in leadership and business.  Nicolas Humphrey believes SI, rather than quantitative intelligence is what defines us as human.  And at Moonlit Minds, we value a child's SI over IQ any day of the week!

Both Dr. Laura Markham (How to Raise a Socially Intelligent Child) and Janet Lansbury (4 Best Ways To Raise Children With Social Intelligence) encourage modeling and practice to help build these skills.
Of all the skills we encourage our children to develop, social intelligence may be the most essential for predicting a fulfilling, successful life. -Janet Lansbury

Tonight we're introducing a new "Social Skills" activity series to give children a chance to think critically about different social situations and help them develop these important social skills.  We will provide the context of a social situation which you will convey as a story to your child.  Then, through a series of open ended questions, let your child explore the situation, people, relationships, and interactions.

Today's Story

Ball over the fence
Imagine you are at a friend's house playing with a ball in his/her back yard.  One of you accidentally throws the ball too far, and it lands on the other side of the property fence.  You both really want to get the ball back.  Here are the problems:
  1. The fence is too high to climb over and there is no way to reach the ball (even with some kind of tool).
  2. Neither of you know the neighbors and they are not outside to help.
So the question is: How will you get your ball back?


The scientifically-minded child may try to engineer her way out of this situation.  You may need to respond to statements like "just get a very tall ladder" or "get a long stick with a net."  Parents should definitely celebrate and encourage this creative thinking!  Those are great examples of problem-solving, but that kind of solution is for another post.  Tonight we're trying to solve the problem with social skills.

The goal is to guide the child on a journey toward recovering the ball through social interaction. An example solution might include informing a parent, knocking on the neighbor's door, explaining the situation, apologizing for the inconvenience, and retrieving the ball.  How the child arrives here can happen in many different ways, but it's the personal interactions that matter in this activity.  Highlight the language skills used that would be important when asking the neighbor for help.
  • How might the neighbor react to the problem?
  • Were you polite?  What kinds of words would you use?
  • Did you look the neighbor in his/her eyes?  
  • Did you smile when you thanked him/her?  
  • How would you introduce yourself?
  • Is it important to tell a parent first?


Remember, there are no wrong answers here.  Keep asking open ended questions and see where the child leads you.  Enjoy and... Mind the nap!

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