The world is opening up! With the return of schools, restaurants, entertainment, and extracurricular activities, life feels more normal and connected with each passing day.
Masks are slowly coming off, and neighbors wave and smile, thankful to safely see each other’s faces for the first time in months.
Whether this makes you feel elated or anxious, I think we can all agree that our social skills are all a little rusty! Routine activities such as playdates and dinners with friends may be slightly awkward and not feel as easy as they used to.
We as a community have experienced social isolation collectively, and we are now all exploring what it feels like to reenter the world together. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy step to take!
Research into socially isolated groups such as astronauts, military personnel, and inmates suggests that social skills are similar to muscles. Without proper exercise they can atrophy over time, leaving us feeling uncertain, awkward, or intolerant of situations that used to feel normal.
Many parents are currently dealing with their own socialization issues while worrying about the negative impacts this time at home has had on their children.
Time spent away from home with peers is crucial for a child’s development. Gary Ladd, Arizona State University professor of psychology and human development, explores the importance of peer relationships and childhood development in his book Children’s Peer Relations and Social Competence: A Century of Progress.
“Children begin their lives in the social world of their families; however, as they mature, they are introduced to the social world of peers and spend increasing amounts of time with kids their own age,” Ladd says. “The types of relationships they form differ from those they have with parents and siblings and teach them unique skills that impact their development. Peer relationships are more balanced, and the partners tend to bring similar levels of ability, reasoning, and skill to their interactions.”
When paired with their peers at an early age, children face common social challenges such as making and keeping friendships, dealing with conflict, fitting into unique social groups, sticking up for themselves, and navigating social groups.
While all of these skills may be a little rusty due to lack of engagement, all hope is not lost! There are many activities available that create a safe and loving environment for children to explore social skills and relationships once again in a meaningful way.
Our number one option? Why, Chess at Three summer classes of course!
Chess at Three is offering a wide range of summer learning options this year! From in-home lessons in all five boroughs, plus the Hamptons and parts of CT, to summer morning chess camps at our Upper East Side Chess Club, we have got you covered.
Chess at Three is also continuing to offer online classes throughout the summer. We know many families prefer the safety and ease of staying home and connecting with playmates virtually. Virtual chess lessons also provide families with the opportunity to take a class with friends and loved ones around the country.
But why is chess the perfect way to re-engage your child’s social skills? We have the seven reasons why!
- Zero pressure.
Playing a game of chess takes the pressure off of engaging socially. Chess is naturally designed to be played in pairs and is a great way to interact. If your child feels anxious about an in-person chess playdate, remind them that their primary focus will be the game and not on making conversation.
Don’t be surprised when a game of chess provides a natural conversation starter and your child is chatting it up with his or her pals as if no time has passed!
- Win or lose, we still have fun.
Chess at Three encourages a positive spin on competitive behavior. Without school, sports, and other after-school activities, children haven’t been able to engage in healthy play and experience the highs and lows of winning and losing.
Chess is a great way to re-learn how to lose with dignity and win with humility. Every chess game ends with a “good game” handshake, no matter the outcome. Chess at Three’s curriculum explores sportsmanship extensively, and children learn how to handle winning and losing alongside our engaging characters.
- Let the sunshine in!
This year has been incredibly stressful for many children. The loss of safety, school, stability, and the freedom to socialize has left a lot of kids struggling to find their footing again.
Anxiety in children is on the rise, and families are looking for new outlets to cope with this unexpected side effect of pandemic life.
Chess is an ideal way to cope with negative thoughts and reduce anxiety in both children and adults. Taking the time to relax into a chess game and learn a new skill is a healthy distraction from daily stress.
Chess has been used to battle depression in children and adults and can be found in different forms of therapy. Signing up for weekly Chess at Three lessons is a wonderful way to foster joy in your child’s life and engage their brain in new ways. Imagine how stimulating this will be in a group setting with their peers!
- Find the fun!
We make learning chess simple, approachable, and — most importantly — fun! At Chess at Three, we teach through creative storytelling, allowing children to come along on a journey with their favorite new friends while exploring the rules of chess. Children learn the why in addition to the how when it comes to understanding chess moves, tactics, and strategic thinking.
Learning a new skill with a pal or in a group is a great way to feel confident in a social setting. When every child is on an even playing field with their peers and learning together, social anxieties and pressures become less prevalent! Children who learn a new game or skill with friends develop confidence, emotional intelligence, and the ability to problem-solve with others!
- Join the club!
Becoming a chess player is like gaining membership to a thousand-year-old club! The ability to play chess allows your child to speak to others in a common language. Chess skills will be a part of their lives well into adulthood, giving your child the advantage of using the game as a way to connect with others.
Adding a weekly chess lesson to your summer schedule is a great way to supply your child with a new skill set as they reenter the social world.
- Listen to the experts.
Our tutors are not only certified storytellers, engaging creatives, and great chess players. They are also socialization specialists! Every one of our tutors is capable of facilitating a positive learning environment for your child and their peers.
They are experienced at guiding children’s social interactions and can give your child and their friends the tools to navigate stepping back out into the real world. Here at Chess at Three, we pride ourselves on offering your child a safe space with an experienced tutor in which to explore and re-engage their social skills.
- Let the games begin!
Chess at Three is gearing up for some pretty epic chess tournaments this fall! We have missed the comradery and excitement our monthly competitions offer our students, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back! This summer is an excellent time for your child to gather with their pals, polish those chess moves, and start gearing up for a bit of tournament action.
Does the word tournament fill you with trepidation? Never fear! Every Chess at Three tournament encourages good sportsmanship and includes an engaging story between each round of chess. We celebrate all the small victories during these games, such as using Thinking Cups and completing all the Secret Missions!
Keep an eye out for tournament announcements come fall!
There you have it: seven reasons why chess is the perfect way to re-engage your child’s social skills this summer! But don’t take our word for it! Sign up for Chess at Three lessons today and let the games begin!