important social skills every child should have
Parenting

The 25 important social skills every child should have

Exactly what you need to teach your child “Social Skills”

Have you ever met people who stand out in gatherings? It just seems the spotlight is on them; they know what to do, how to control situations and also maintain relationships with people around. Ever wondered how possible it is? Well, the reason is not far-fetched. They harness the necessary social skills needed’ real time.

As a parent, one of your utmost desire is that your child grow up attaining best and be valuable not just to you but, also to the society at large. However, one can’t be valuable and stand out except is having distinct personality.

And one of the skills that will make a person stand out amidst others is the social skills one has acquired and is putting to use day in day out in every area of his/her live endeavors. Let it be known that to attain a social life stage where a person is been classified as distinguish is not a day journey.

The next line of questions that you may likely want to ask about social skills includes but not limited to  

  • What is social skills?
  • What are the importance of social skills in children?
  • Why do children need to learn social skills?
  • What are the side effect of not instilling social skills in children?
  • At what age should I begin to teach my child social skills?
  • What are good social skills children should learn in early childhood?
  • Why do parents need to instill social skills in children?
  • What are good social skills?
  • How to instill social skills in children?
  • What are causes of poor social skills?
  • What is social awkwardness?
  • How to improve child social skills?

This publication explains the intricacies of social skills to teach children starting from their early childhood and during every stage in their upbringing so that it can be part of them before they reach stage of adolescence. This will in turn shape them to be responsible and have distinct personalities now and nearby future.

What is Social Skills? 

An interpersonal skills and related soft skills used in establishing effective communication. Social skills as describe also shows skillfulness in interaction and communicating with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated either verbally and non-verbally way that foster good understanding. Meaning that human being are social entity; they required behaviors, actions and other forms of communication which are necessary to effectively create and maintain good relationships. Socialization is the process of learning social skills and not having social skill can cause social awkwardness.

Social skills which may include showing empathy, using self-control, compromising, apologizing amongst others, also has direct or indirect link to independence, mental wellness and emotional well-being. Read on to understand how all these are interrelated to make living a social-able life among people. It is called a skill because it is learnt and not a talent; an in-born ability

Children socializing with one another
Children socializing with each other

What is social awkwardness?

A condition that entails having little skills in socializing or uncomfortable feelings in an individual showing excessively afraid of social interaction with others due to peer rejection, pressure or the like. And sometimes can be the attribute of personal choice of feeling uncomfortable when around others in public places.

Importance of social skills in children?

Social skills importance are innumerable in children life’ even adult. It is very important because they are the functional system of having good relationship with people around us; parents, partners, friends, teachers etc. It help foster peaceful relationship and interaction with others and the society at large. It can also enhance longevity, good health and control loneliness and unnecessary depression in early childhood. Having good social skills can increase overall happiness and enhance mental health wellbeing. 

Why do children need to learn social skills?

We live in a society where interactions with people are inevitable. These social skills will help to maintain good relationships and friendships. Also with the effective use of social skills children will be able to react and respond to situations wisely. For example, thinking before speaking and acting or using self-control, keeping good friends and negating bad ones too.

What are the side effect of not instilling social skills in children?

One of the worst side effect of not instilling social skills is its harmfulness to children mental health and physical being. Depression can easily set in, anxiety and chaotic behavior can spring up in such child. Low mentality in areas of picking up ideas and also limitation in sharing with peers. Depletion in learning new things and exposure are negatively impacted. Inferiority complex among peers and not bold enough to handle bullying. More to this is shyness and fear to speak in public places when the need arise.  

How acquiring social skills help develop children?

As children grow, they begin to interact and communicate with one another and people around. It shows that they need to know how well to relate to others and in the right manner. The use of the social skills will help groom their attitude, thinking and behavior and also help them to co-ordinate themselves in the public because these skills are not natural. Anything less to the right manner of communication with others can cause social awkwardness.

At what age should I begin to teach my child social skills?

Starting early in their life matters.

Good example of social skills children should learn in early childhood?

Children must learn to socialize starting early in their life and to do that, the good example of social skills children should learn in early childhood includes but not limited to act of sharing, cooperating with others, listening attentively, following directions’ obeying rules and regulation, respecting personal space, making eye contacts, using good manners, expressing feelings among others.

What are causes of poor social skills?

The cause is dependent on so many factors (internal and externa), however we going to lay emphasis on immediate ones that can easily be controlled.

Poor social skills can occur due to inability to acquire new skills, inferiority complexity, not having enough knowledge and it could be to competency deficit.

At times a child struggles with performing social skills due to limited practice and inadequate experience; despite may understand the need and how to perform one or many other social skills required.

A knowledgeable parent or educator can help out by helping the child build confidence.

Important social skills children needs to have

As children grow from one stage to another in their respective period of upbringing, parents must endeavor to instill in them the habit of socializing. Socialization is a skill that children need to acquire for the reason of been able to interact with the society at large.

There are lots of social skills’ however, the important once which form the basic foundation for other social skills children is prone to inculcate later in life; that parent need to instill now in children childhood is discus below

Compromising

To compromise means to accept standards that are lower than is desirable. In arguments, it is a concept of finding agreement through a mutual acceptance of terms often involving variations from an original goal or desire. It can also mean to surrender in the process of negotiating an agreement. This social skill is useful for the use of making peace reign. It is also the ability to reach concessions, adjust your position or option to reach a settlement or agreement.

How does it relate to Children?

Children most times want to have their way in everything when they want something, they want it now; as soon as they asked. As a Parent you should have noticed it. They do not understand how to let go for another.

For example, if they ask for ice-cream or sweets they want it as soon as they crave for it or they can start throwing tantrums or crying. You may have noticed this, however it is not a big issue and if you have not should I ask you to wait for it? Better still, go ahead solve the problem or work on your child to avoid it. What you will do? As parent; teach your child the act of compromise; kids should learn how to be able to bend rules for others as time may come when they will not always get what they want. Make it clear that it is not every time ones gets what is desired. There will always be need to be contempt and learn to value the opinion of others. Valuing others needs is one of the best things one can do. It is a sign of strength not weakness, and an avenue towards a win situation for everyone involved.

Expressing feelings

A child going through something he does not like knows and understands how he feels. But if not taught how to express his/her feelings, may not know how to express himself well with the appropriate words.

For example, if your child was hurt by someone; simple terms like saying ‘I feel bad about what you said’ would sound better than ‘I hate you, do not play with me again’. Both are expressions of hurt but one carries a more appropriate approach than the other. Therefore, it is a social skill that needs to be learnt not only in protecting friendships and relationships but also to know how to express themselves in situation’ to you as a parent and also to become better persons in establishing good communication.

Parents can help them identify simple feelings like being happy, sad, angry, afraid, pained by asking him questions about how he feels. This way he is able to express himself based on these terms than using his own words which could be unpleasant.

Following directions

 Asking a child to follow directions is to ask to follow instructions. Children will naturally want to do things their own ways of which may not be the best. This skill will be easy to teach if you can listen to your child. It has been seen that when a child is asked not to do something without a reason that is when he is more likely do it.

In order to get your child to follow your directions, let him know the reason[s] why he should. For instance, telling him not to play with the cooker. He will be anxious to know why because children are naturally inquisitive. But, if you tell him the reason why he should not play with the cooker is that he could injure himself or burn down the house. The next time the thought comes for him to put on the cooker, he will remember what doing so can cost him. Try to give instructions this way without creating fears. Just show your child the reasons why he should follow your instructions; be precise, easy to understand and speak calmly.

Using Self-Control

Self-control is the ability to maintain quietness and sanity in a heat of provocation. It is the ability to manage thoughts, actions and emotions in order to get things effectively done. Children talk a lot, tend to be restless, interrupt others, and throw tantrums without self-control. They do not know these are excesses. But if they are taught this skill, it will help them maintain orderliness and also learn how to handle negative responses.

In their relationship with friends, they will use self-control in communicating their minds without getting hurt or hurt others. This means that if your child has the skill of self- control, he will know how to behave and what to do at any particular time.

Showing empathy

Empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings of another. To have empathy for another is to place one’s self in their position such that you can feel what they go through in a particular situation and respond with care.

Children are by nature ‘selfish’ meaning that they think about themselves first. They do not care if their actions affect you or you cannot afford what they want. It is the role of parent to teach them empathy by telling them about how others feel, by their actions, being a role model that is when you interact in a good way, they will imitate you.  Show them how to be emphatic also by reaching out to a sick friend.

Think before speaking or acting

 The general rule is that you are to think before you speak or act. Well, the rule is not applicable to only adults but children too. Most children cannot handle situations regarding them well except they are help to learn how to process their responses in right manners.

This skill can be synonymous with self-control but the effect of this is that they need to process or have a think on their answers before responding. Having this skill will help them answer correctly and know how to reply others well and with respect.

You teach your child these skills by simply allowing them have a thought over their response before speaking or talking. For example; learning to count 1-5 before speaking or asking them to take out time to imagine the response of the other party.

Positive attitude

This skill simply centers on having the right mindset about everything. It is being optimistic about situations, interactions and oneself. It refers to paying attention to the good things around rather than anything negative. It is also about having hopes about the future.

If you teach your child to always have a good positive attitude, they will believe in themselves so much and always see the good side of everything rather than the negative or bad side. To help your child learn this, do by giving them daily affirmations, help and teach them to surround themselves with positive people, avoid negative words like ‘NO’ except it is required else it can be disheartening when wrongly used. Always create a positive environment in your home and most importantly be their model; model positive vibes like encouraging them and focus on their strength, help them out of their weaknesses, appreciate any work they do well, this will encourage them to do more.

Using coping skills

To use coping skills means to invest one’s own conscious effort, to solve personal and interpersonal problems in order to try to master, minimize or tolerate stress and conflict. Kids need to learn this skill to manage their emotions in a healthy way. It is important to teach them coping skills which will help them face their fears, calm and cheer themselves because all of it is inevitable.

There are quite a number of activities for your children to do when they feel sad or to while away worries or anxiety. Activities like playing games, singing, listening to good musics, reading interesting books, deep breathing can also help relax muscles and also, positive talks by you as a parent to your child can encourage their wellbeing.

Dealing with anger and frustration

 Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility while frustration is the feeling of being upset as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. These two emotions are inevitable in human life and can be worst where kids is not oriented about handling same.

Children can easily get annoyed at anything; especially if they don’t get what they want. They can be easily frustrated when doing something to make themselves happy and such doesn’t work according to their expectation example is making a sand castle [game] and it does not work out. Such can lead to transfer of aggression to their parent, friends or anyone around. Else kids grow up with this limitation; it advisable for parent to train up a child early enough to be able to manage his or her anger.

Kids should be taught to calm down first in any situation that upset them. Sensitize your child on what anger or frustration is; enlighten them on what it entails. Its’ okay to be angry, it also understandable to get frustrated [everyone does] but bad to react harshly in former or give up easily in latter. Teach them how to handle difficult people, situation and challenges. Let them know that anger is a feeling and will pass but the actions they take during that time may not easily wipe out. And in face of such, they should first calm down, count in their mind may be 1 to 10 or better still walk away. Teach them to manage their emotions.

Seeing someone else’s perspective

Perspective in this context means the mindset to consider a situation from a different point of view. It requires you to put yourself in another’s position and imagine what you would do in that situation.

Children can easily learn seeing things from other people’s perspective if parent is willing to understand and see things from their perspective. Meaning to help your child learn this skill, you must listen to a child patiently, hear what it is he or she have to say. Doing this simply means you are teaching him what it means to see other people’s perspective. In that context instead of forcing him to listen to you, you are listening to him.

The reason why a parents may struggle so hard to make a child listen to them is because they themself were not good listener either, or you may have been brought up same way. If while you young, nobody thought about your feelings or emotions; you may likely don’t care to see needs to give your child a listening ear.

Please change! If you feel your perspective should be dominant, while your child just obeys all, its’ unfair and could have negative impact during child upbringing. Everyone deserves what is good; children voice need to be heard, kindly read up the slide that talks about emotions.

Help your child understand perspective include respecting emotions of others. Feelings is natural, talk about your own and your child’s emotions as a typical example to foster this skill.

And if your child can identify emotions and put himself in another’s situation in order to share in their feelings then they can manage situations well when it arise.

Expressing ideas, feelings and thoughts

Before your child can aptly express emotions, he has to learn to identify them first. You teach him by asking questions on how he feel, read books and explain characters or watch movies and do same.

By doing this they can identify simple emotions like being sad, happy, hungry, angry and all. So, when they want to talk to others, they know the right way to express what they feel the right way thus; making them respectful kids.

Taking responsibility

Responsibility is the capability to be accountable for something. It is the state or fact of having a duty bond to deal with something or of having control over someone. It is basically doing what is expected of you and accepting the consequences.

Therefore, if you are to teach your child how to take responsibility, you are teaching him to deal and handle situations and how to be accountable. You can do this by first being a good example to them. That means if you are responsible, they will easily imitate you.

Ask them to keep records of how they spend money, how they use their resources and what has been given to them. This way your child is able to take credit for his actions; whether good or bad.

Some other responsible actions to teach them is getting home on time, supervise their use of the internet, set expectations for them, and enforce rules, gives chores and homework and see they complete same in good time.

Understanding personal space

Personal space refers to the physical distance between two people in a social, family, or work environment. For children, it refers to keeping distance in their space and not invading. It is learning not to unnecessarily bump into someone, touch them and hug them or to be too closely knitted into them.

Children have been found to do this as often as they can to adults; who can in turn handle the invasion nicely but if it is to another child, who does not like anyone intruding in his space, it can lead to a misunderstanding. You can teach them by modeling personal space to them, practice it with them by showing them how.

Taking turns

This simply means to do something alternatively or in succession. It helps children to learn the basic techniques in communication and also interaction. How?

When a child takes turn in speaking with another, it means he is giving the other person an opportunity to express himself and not too domineering. He is not being selfish but able to have listening hear; as such enhance harmony.

In interaction, taking turns will help him learn to share and not think of himself all the time; it also give room for others to express themselves. It also enhance orderliness.  

Good sportsmanship

The general rule is that every child should treat one another with respect, when they play with friends or against opponents in game setting. This will strengthen relationships and good friendships. When playing sports their focus should not be on winning but in learning teamwork, become physically active and enjoy themselves.

They will learn how to be polite, follow directions from coaches and also learn how to handle losing gracefully, respect others, playing fair and it will improve their social and emotional well-being and contribute to life skills development.

This social skill will obviously not only make them smart and young but also act as a means of enjoyment and fun and fostering harmony wherever they find themselves working in team.

Appreciating differences

This social skill will help your child value others which will strengthen relationships. When your child is taught to appreciate differences, it is teaching him to respect the feelings and ideas of others regardless of their stand, back ground or race.

You can teach them to note the different things that they have and others do not; like skin color, clothing, behaviors, and answer any question as to what they ask pertaining to differences.

This will help him or her to know that though we are all humans yet we are not all same and in spite we should value and respect others regardless of race or color knowing fully well there is variation in human being.

Stay calm in stress

No one is actually above or below being stressed. Yes! Not even your child. They can be stressed too from different activities like playing, eating, talking amongst others. How do you help them maintain stability of calmness in such a state; first your understanding that they can be stressed too is needed because it is one way you will help them.

Also, when they are stressed their behavior changes; you need to note this and give them adequate time to themselves. It will help them relax. After which you can allow them do anything fun and interesting that they love to do to ease stress. These same steps you will take if you are tired; same is applicable to children too. Treat them same.

Emotion self-regulation

Emotional self-regulation is the ability to manage real time experience demands with guided emotions or feelings in such ways that is tolerable socially and flexible to manage or control spontaneous reactions. This is an ability related to having self-control over one temperament in the face of anger.  It is quite different from self-control in that it helps kids to manage their emotions, behavior and actions when they are faced with troubled emotions.

The way to help your child develop this skill is to first help them identify the emotions as they come and feel it and then talk to them about it. Help them out with activities that steer up happiness. Like going out to play with friends, playing with their favorite toys amongst other hobbies they have.

Dealing with worries

A much known misconception many parents have is that they feel they are the only ones who have things to think about. Well that’s wrong; your child has worries too.

Although it may not be as much as yours, they also have to worry about how to fit in with friends, how to make the best grades, stress over peer pressure, being bullied, teased or left out amongst others. Shocked about this fact? How can you help children to stop their worries over things in order to cub negative side effects worrying can lead to.

First, find out what is on their minds; take time to listen and respond with compassion. You can also help them use positive coping skills like singing, playing, walking, exercising, reading, resting, and taking him or her out for shopping or telling them story that can ease their worries.

Don’t hesitate to stress the importance of getting enough rest and sleep each night. Help them with positive talks and confessions to overcome anxiety and worries. This will help them.

Reading social cues

Social cues are signals in communication in forms of verbal or non-verbal ways of expression through parts of the body, the face, body, voice, motion and more. This serve as a guide in conversations as well as other social interaction by influencing our impressions of and responses to others.

Examples include; eye gaze, facial expression, vocal tone and body language. This skills if well understood enables kids to read people reaction appropriately.

How can parent help a child identify and know these social skill termed reading social cues? First, identify these cues to them and what they mean, then practice these cues with them as often like using body languages to talk to them or make eyes contacts. If they do not get it, explain to them.

You can make a game out of it to make it seem like fun. They will need to know to read other people most especially children like them so that they do not encroach in another’s space and seem like intruders.

Dealing with problem and conflicts

Conflicts are inevitable among people and this is because we cannot all please each other. Your child will grow up to become an adult one day and even before then, amongst his peers, problems and conflict may arise.

How does he handle it? First model easy conflict resolution to them; what they see; they do and besides you cannot give what you do not have. Also state and understand the problem, then apologize well; empathy may be needed.

Apologizing

This is one the most important social skill that is needed and yet many do not like to use it. To apologize means to express regret for something that one has done wrong. As simple as it is, yet hard to do and that is because no one wants to feel like a weakling. However, fact is that whoever apologizes first is more mature than the other who doesn’t.

So how do you tell or show your child to apologize to their friends or even to older ones. First teach them to understand that apologizing is not an act of weakness but strength. Then model apologizing by doing same where applicable, you are showing them a pattern to follow or imitate. They will get used to doing it if they see you do often.

You can also explain to them the reason why they should apologize, ‘say sorry’ and not impose let them do with an understanding and remorseful heart. The earlier you taught them, the better for them.

Adapting to consequences

It can be likened to taking responsibility for actions. Meaning that you are teaching your child that for whatever action they take, they should be ready to admit what comes out of it.

This helps your child to know what to do and the consequences help him define his actions. For example, not eating enough will make him hungry. So he will learn to eat well. Another way is if he does not get his assignment done, no sweets or chocolates.

Social skills abstract for parents

Different child with different level of social skills. Meaning kids needs help with different social skills and what a child needs practice with could vary respect to age and stage during upbringing.

There are relevant social skills appropriate to different age group, knowing this will help a parent to know how to work out plans to assist a child when found out that a child lacks an appropriate social skill suitable for his or her age.

Susan Diamond, M.A is a speech-language pathologist and author of Social Rules for Kids who emphasis  the appropriate social skills to be taught to kids can be divided into three category of which parents are required to know and figure out applicable ways to administer teaching and fostering assimilation with right tools and resources. 

Mom having a good time with a child

How to instill social skills in children?

To implement what you have read so far is not hard at all. All you need to first understand is that its’ a gradual process, active participation in your child upbringing and not leaving everything to caregivers and educators.

You can start by first observing your child to know the areas is lagging behind in social skills; note it down. Thereafter begin to work on each highlighted areas in your list.

However, this are handy skills to help you achieve result. Have good listening hear to your child, show you cares and be interested in his/her activities. Correct with love, give room for expression of feelings, and value feedback from your child caregiver and educators. Involve them let them know your aim and objective in helping your child socialize.

Talk to your children when they misbehave; let them understand reasons for regulations and rules, give them clear view into observing protocols. When seen behaving abnormally, ask the reason why behaving differently, Create room for activities that involve cooperation, sharing, interacting, dialoging etc. Building something together is a typical example, cooking is not bad, playing at ball is also good.   

Ask your child question and provide answers to your child question. Encourage open dialogue where there is misunderstanding, be analytic, give room for mistake and sensitize him or her whenever the need arise. Be ready to assist where they lack the capacity and encourage him or her to take responsibility.

Engage them in little project. Read books together, go out together, picnic together, visit relations. Allow them to speak for themselves when you visit hospital, let them make choice and negotiate when you are buying them something. It also an avenue to teach them social skills. In all let them understand it is normal way of live to socialize and there is no harm in doing so.

Well, if you have come this far in reading the 25 Social Skills Every Child Should Have am sure you are good and worthy parent. It shows that you want the best for your child.

Thumbs up! It’s not enough to read but continuous practices make perfect. This social skills complement one another and find uses in day to day activities that involve human interactions.

Sure, gradual implementation is required to help your child inculcate them and fact is your child will stand out amongst peers, be a better and responsible persons if he/she has learned and put to use.

I know you find it very helpful please share for other parents to benefit. You indeed want to tell us your opinion, kindly use our comment box below. We are always happy to hear from our readers. To receive more educative contents alike’ subscribe below or use the follow us button at the bottom left. Thanks for reading.

Goodreads: Important life lesson every child should learn?

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