Expert / 27 April, 2023 / Ellie Thompson

Fun Ways To Boost Your Child’s Social Skills Before Starting School

Experts reveal that day trips aren’t just for memory making but can support early years development too. In a post-pandemic world, creating safe and comfortable environments for pre-schooler social skill development is of increasing importance. Experts from the UK’s number one family theme park, Paultons Park and leading nursery provider, Tops Day Nurseries, have come together to share their creative tips on how parents can help their children develop necessary social skills in fun and nurturing environments.

Importance of socialisation in early years

Cheryl Hadland, managing director of Tops Day Nurseries, is keen to demonstrate that early-years development can be fun and isn’t as daunting as it sounds: “The importance of socialisation in early childhood development cannot be overstated. It helps children develop communication skills, empathy, and emotional regulation. Current pre-schoolers are a generation of children that are still recovering from the pandemic. Many parents are looking for advice on how to help their children become comfortable in social situations, and I am keen to reassure them that doing this can be easily achieved through enjoyable family days out and experiences.”

Experts recommend that parents facilitate skill building opportunities outside of nursery and the family home to encourage confident and social young children. Playdates provide the perfect opportunity for children to experience comfortable social situations.


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Why playdates are important to preschoolers

Cheryl commented: “Consider setting up playdates with just one or two other children at first and gradually increasing the number of children and the length of the playdates. Additionally, why not organise activities as a small group of parents and children, providing different contexts and environments for your toddler to become confident in.”

Modelling good behaviour is also an important way to aid a child’s development in social situations. As parents and carers, demonstrating kind, respectful, and inclusive behaviour towards others, encourages the same behaviour from children.

Book a family day out

James Mancey, Operations Director at Paultons Park, said: “Days out as a family or social group provide ample opportunity to model good social behaviour. Practicing patience in queues for rides and meeting new people are all great development opportunities for young children to develop while enjoying a family day out.”

James also recommends visiting attractions during term time with preschoolers: “Attractions are often much quieter mid-week during term time. Visiting Paultons Park during quieter periods, such as on a weekday, provides a less overwhelming experience for young children to learn a new environment and become comfortable around others”

Cheryl summarises: “Providing ample social opportunities for your little one to meet other children and interact with a wider group of people is the best way to aid their development ahead of school. Proactively seeking these opportunities isn’t just of benefit to the child either! Loneliness is a very normal issue for new parents. Visiting attractions, booking playdates and seeking family days out gives adults just as much chance to build relationships with caregivers and parents of children of a similar age. This can relieve anxieties, both for parents and their young children.”

About Paultons Park

Paultons Park, situated on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, showcases several dedicated lands, including dinosaur-themed area Lost Kingdom, 1950s Americana-themed world Tornado Springs and the UK-exclusive home of Peppa Pig World. It has been recognised as one of the world’s leading attractions by Tripadvisor and has held the title of the UK’s best-rated amusement park for an unbeaten five years in a row.

About Tops Day Nurseries

Tops Day Nurseries is one of the most well-respected childcare institutions on the south coast. Tops offer care and education for children from 3 months to school age, all year around for extended opening hours, as well as having an afterschool and holiday club for school-age children. Tops have 32 nurseries across the South and Southwest and each day nursery prides itself in offering a happy, safe and secure environment where your child can thrive.

To find out more, visit and


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