Mobile features that teach social skills – Part 2

In the second part of this series, we look at a little used feature on every mobile phone – the timer!When used imaginatively, this feature (usually found next to the alarm function) has the potential to create a racy, fun game that can strengthen conversational skills!Like most new activities, it’s best to play this game in the secure environment of your home, where you’re playing the role of another child. 

Social Rally
The objective of this game is to complete answering a question and asking your own within a fixed period of time. There are no negative points in this game, but you can add points each time the task is completed in time. 
Here is how it goes:

  • Set the timer for a minute or a time duration that is long enough to encourage your child to speak without feeling pressurised.  
  • Tell your child that you will pretend to be a child at a birthday party (or in school or a similar relevant situation). 
  • Ask a simple question like ‘What is your name?’. Press the timer. 
  • As soon as the countdown begins, the child has to answer your question and ask you a question back. As soon as he/she finishes asking you a question, the child gets to press the timer and it is now your turn answer it and ask another question. 
  • This can go on until you sense fatigue or shifted interest. 

Some things to remember

  • Do take time to answer and ask questions when your turn comes, so that it doesn’t seem like a one-sided game where your child is at a disadvantage. 
  • Be aware that initially, the child will probably repeat your questions, but that’s ok. 
  • Over time, you can reduce the interval on the timer, but please don’t be in a hurry to do so. 
  • Make it fun with lots of high-fives and laughter when your child completes a turn well. Be sure to celebrate at the end of the game. 
  • After several rounds of the games over several days, ask the child if he/she would like to go first. 
  • If this game works for you and your child, you could use it to explore other social situations such as asking a friend to play, or initiating conversation by asking to join in another child’s game. 

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