Learning social skills is a key part of child development. Good social skills allow kids to interact positively with others and communicate their needs, wants, and feelings effectively. Plus, the benefits of robust social skills reach far beyond social relationships and acceptance.
Social skills give kids a wide range of benefits. They are linked to greater success in school and better relationships with peers.
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A willingness to share a snack or a toy can go a long way to helping kids make and keep friends. By age 7 or 8, kids become more concerned with fairness and are more willing to share. Kids who feel good about themselves are often more likely to share and sharing helps them feel good about themselves. Teaching kids to share may help boost their self-esteem.
Cooperating means working together to achieve a common goal. Kids who cooperate are respectful when others make requests. They also contribute, participate, and help out.
Good cooperation skills are essential for successfully getting along within a community. Your child will need to cooperate with classmates on the playground as well as in the classroom. Cooperation is important as an adult, too.
Listening isn’t just about staying quiet—it means really absorbing what someone else is saying. Listening is also a critical component of healthy communication. After all, much of the learning in school depends on a child’s ability to listen to what the teacher is saying.
Absorbing the material, taking notes, and thinking about what is being said becomes even more important as your child advances academically. Giving your child plenty of opportunities to practice listening can strengthen this skill.
Kids who struggle to follow directions are likely to experience a variety of consequences. From having to redo their homework assignments to getting in trouble for misbehavior, not following directions can be a big problem.
Whether you instruct your children to clean their rooms or you’re telling them how to improve their soccer skills, it’s important for kids to be able to take direction—and follow instructions.
Respecting Personal Space
Some kids are close talkers. Others crawl into the laps of acquaintances without any idea that it makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s important to teach kids how to respect other people’s personal space.
Making Eye Contact
Good eye contact is an important part of communication. Some kids struggle to look at the person they are speaking to. Whether your child is shy and prefers to stare at the floor or simply won’t look up when engrossed in another activity, emphasize the importance of good eye contact.
Saying please and thank you and using good table manners can go a long way toward helping your child gain attention for the right reasons. Teachers, other parents, and other kids will respect a well-mannered child.
Of course, teaching manners can feel like an uphill battle sometimes. From burping loudly at the table to acting ungratefully, all kids will let their manners go out the window sometimes. It is important, however, for kids to know how to be polite and respectful—especially when they’re in other people’s homes or at school.