3 ways to grow your child’s social skills and help them become attuned adults

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Children have a strong need to belong and feel significant. If these qualities are continually met, children grow up to be confident individuals who know they are loved. They can learn, play and discover without the extra distraction of trying to gain a parent’s attention, and eventually everyone else’s.

Parents are doing everything they can for their kids. Why then, do some kids grow up thinking they’re not loved or don’t belong?

There are multiple answers, but one we’ll tap into today is called ‘attunement’.

A great, and fairly simple way to ensure your children know that they are loved and belong, is to stay attuned to them. Attunement is the way in which we understand and then engage with another person’s emotional state. It is the way in which we form relationships.

Attunement creates security in children, develops their social skills, and enables them to build healthy relationships. Attunement is a social skills secret that anyone can learn, regardless of personality type.

Yet, you’d be surprised how many people struggle to stay attuned to their Children, especially when they begin to reach 10 years old.

Here are three quick tips to help you become more attuned:

1 | Shift gears when you see a difference in your child’s emotional state

If you notice that your child is unusually quiet, struggling to focus, in a bad mood or reacting in anger, attunement is about slowing down to connect with your child. In that time of connecting with them, let them know that you’ve noticed the difference and ask what might have happened and how you can help.

If they’ve opened up to let you know, don’t criticize or try to make light of the situation by invalidating their response, like ‘that’s not that bad.’ Allow them to speak without you immediately trying to solve the problem. Become vulnerable and let them know if you’ve ever experienced the same. Children often open up if they know their parents have felt the same way.

2| Truly listen to their responses and ask your child what they think is the best option to improve the situation

Problem solving is a life skill we all use. It’s brilliant to master on, and off, the football field. Parents are tempted to give the solution because, often, they know what’s best, right?

Reign it in every now and then, and ask your child what he/she thinks are the options they have to improve their situation or feelings, and out of those options, what they think is best for them to choose. Guide them along with further questions if they need some help. Equip them to come up with their own opinions and give them the confidence that they are able to make great decisions.

3 | Book uninterrupted time with you children

We get it, life can be manically busy. Making sure your kids have reached school on time, dressed in the correct uniform, with a packed lunch and breakfast successfully navigated, is already an achievement worthy of acknowledgement!

We can never over-estimate the price of time. But if we invest in it, a little each day, it will pay us back a hundred-fold in the future.

Digital devices can be so pervasive in our lives; they seem to affect multiple areas. In the midst of bringing home the bacon, running a household and raising children, digital devices can begin to eat up the little time we have left.

If there is a 5 minute gap in your day when you can leave your phone behind, forget the to-do-list and manage to coax your child away from the screen, spend it checking in with them.

Spending uninterrupted time with your kids simply says to them that they’re significant enough not to have to compete with anything else in life. Why not book it in your diary like you would a meeting, or a date night?

Change it up every now and then by watching them play football or achieve a new football skill. Take it to the next level and get involved with some fun parent-child footy-games – check out our YouTube channel for some ideas. Show them that their interests are your interests simply because you love them.

Football and Attunement

Interestingly, attunement is not only important in life in general, it is critical on the football field. There are the more obvious ways in the game of football where attunement helps in building relationships with teammates, but it is also important on the field when understanding how to react.

Players have to scan the field, understand their options and play the next move according to what information they have taken in. Becoming more attuned to a player’s body language and even their facial expressions helps a player to stay calm when the game is not going the way they want it to. It also helps players to choose their next move wisely.

And let’s not forget about the positive effects of attunement. Confidence on the football field is key. It’s a mental game. We’ve all seen a player or team’s almost visible slump after constantly conceding goals. Insecurity sets in. The trick is to bounce back and believe it’s possible to succeed in the face of great difficulties. Confidence is these scenarios makes all the difference.

Kids don’t often think about the amount of blood, toil, tears and sweat you sacrifice for them every day, but they will remember the times that you truly listen, notice what’s going on, and demonstrate that you’re interested in their life.

Attuned, Attunement, Become attuned to your children, Brain, Brain-Based Training, Brain-boosting tips, Brain-centred Training, Children, IQ Football, Screen-free, Soccer, Soccer Academy, Social Skills


Sean Szabo

Recognised as a leading brain-centred football coach in Gauteng, Sean Szabo is an English FA qualified coach who has worked internationally assisting player’s motor and technical football skills, as well as their cognitive development on and off the field. IQ Football was founded in 2015 by Sean as an amalgamation of his passion for football coaching, mentoring, and brain-centred research.

Comments (2)

  • This is great Sean! I love that you don’t just coach football. I think you are a step above and ahead of most other coaches.

    • Thanks so much James, we really appreciate the feedback and kind words. It’s great to hear that my passion for developing players, on and off the field, is coming through. It’s a pleasure to coach the lads and see them grow.

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