How to develop interpersonal intelligence in your kids

“No man is an island” and everyone must learn how to interact effectively with people around them. We all must admit that academic knowledge is not enough to make a mark in this fast-changing world. Honing other critical skills such as thinking, confidence, communication and creativity are also essential for children to function well and enhance academic performances. In simple words: a child should not only understand how to put two and two together, but develop the skill to explain why, with flair. Hence, effective interpersonal skills play a significant role in the overall development of children. Here are some ways to improve interpersonal intelligence in kids.

Home is your child’s first school
Irrespective of age, everyone has their own opinions, choices, feelings and interests. Give your kids time and space to express themselves, because this way the child is unknowingly opting for the pragmatic approach to translate their thoughts into words. Active listening is also a vital life skill that has to be practiced at home too.

Motivate them to pursue their hobbies and interests
Hobbies and interests not only develop kids’ creative and critical thinking, but also enable them to spark up conversations between peers. Joining clubs or signing up for programs can help them come in contact with kids with similar interests.

Friendliness matters
Teach them some basics of effective communication – greet people with a smile, make eye contact while talking, use the magic word ‘thanks’. Kindness is contagious, and most important of all: model friendly behavior.

Empathy is more powerful than sympathy
Help children learn to zoom in, listen, and be attentive to others, but also to zoom out, taking in multiple perspectives and people. Demonstrate different acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. For example, helping someone tidy up the classroom or home.

You are an example
As it is said: “Children close their ears to advice but open their eyes to example”. Most children learn by watching and observing their parents. Teach them the basic ethics of communication. The effectiveness increases manyfold when you preach by example.

Open the world of books
Good reading habits mean great vocabulary, which in turn helps children to express themselves more effectively and clearly. Reading books to your child also enhances listening ability. There is no better way to develop your kid’s personality than to spend some time together enlightening each other.

Never kill curiosity
Tell your child that asking questions is healthy. As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can offer to our kids is to encourage their innate desire for curiosity, to quench their thirst to know more about the world they are living in, to feed their hunger to learn new things. See the world through their eyes!

Tell them about different parts of communication
Exemplary communication has three basic parts – start, middle and end. Teach them how to initiate a conversation, put forward their point of view and end the conversation. Playing communication games will also enhance their communication skills and the ability to follow instructions.

Mind the tone
Explain to your child how the meaning of words changes with emphasis, volume and speed of speech. For example, a calm “What are you doing?” is a curious question. A loud, quick “What are you doing?” sounds angry and sarcastic.

Observation is key
Children generally learn from what they see around them. Slowly and gradually, they tend to observe things minutely. You can improve their observation skills by talking and discussing, including story books and playing games that need observation and concentration skills. Non-verbal communication is also an integral part of an effective conversation. The idea behind developing observation skills is to analyze situations on their own so that, in time, they will be able to make the best decision as to how to behave in a particular situation.

Written by Parul Sachdeva