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6 Key Social Skills for Kids

Posted by Krystie Yeo on

Your young child is growing and changing in front of your eyes. They're learning new things and reaching new milestones. Child development is truly incredible.

Some of the most important skills for children to learn are social skills. Social skills for kids will help them make friends, set boundaries, and thrive in school and beyond.

We're here to talk about some of the most important social skills for your child (and how to practice social skills at home). Read on to learn more. 

1. Listening

You'll start teaching your child how to listen from the time that they're born. Every time you speak to your child, you're helping them build their listening skills (even if they aren't speaking on their own yet). 

As they get older, you need to start teaching active listening skills. Many adults don't even have active listening skills, so when you teach them to your child, you'll be giving them a great headstart.

When your child is great at active listening, they'll learn how to respond to others correctly, ask appropriate questions, and completely comprehend the information that's being conveyed to them.

Listening doesn't stop with "hearing." Part of teaching listening skills is also teaching your child how to follow directions. They need to apply the things that they're hearing! 

Practice this with your child by rewarding them for following instructions at home. 

A note: While many people associate good eye contact with active listening (and it is a helpful skill to have), not all children are capable of or comfortable with this. Respect your child's needs and find other ways for them to communicate. 

2. Apologizing

Learning how to apologize is tough, even for adults. Teach your child how to apologize and take responsibility for their actions while they're still young (preferably before they start pre-school, but this will be an ongoing process). 

Teaching a child how to understand when they've done something wrong (and how to remedy the situation) will help them make friends. It will also teach them that they should accept apologies from others (which will lead to healthier future relationships). 

3. Respecting (and Setting) Boundaries

More and more parents are discovering the importance of teaching their children about boundaries. Boundaries help children protect themselves, form healthy friendships, and respect others. 

Teach your child basic boundaries first, like respecting personal space. Children should learn about how they have their own personal "bubble" that other people shouldn't encroach upon without permission. Once your child understands that, they'll realize that other people have personal "bubbles" too. 

This will teach your child that they shouldn't hit, pinch, or otherwise touch someone if they're upset. 

Then you can move on to emotional boundaries. Teach your child about unacceptable behavior, like people being mean to them. Tell your child that they don't have to accept this behavior and how they can remove themself from it. 

Strong boundaries are going to help your child all the way through adulthood. 

4. Cooperating

Ah, cooperation. A challenging skill for any child to learn. Again, children are self-centered, so the idea of collaborating with someone else and having to make occasional concessions is going to be difficult for them to swallow. 

You can start teaching children how to collaborate at home with fun exercises. For example, let's say that you're building a block castle with your child. Explain that you're going to place blocks in an area that they don't like.

If your child gets upset, explain that they put blocks wherever they wanted already. Then, see if you can come to a mutual agreement about where to place the blocks.

This will give your child the idea that they can still be happy with results even if they have to let other people provide input too. 

5. Empathy

Empathy is difficult for children. They aren't yet able to put themselves in other people's shoes. This skill will develop naturally over time, but you can speed up the process at home. 

Teaching a child about empathy will help them make friends with people who are different from them. You'll open up their world.

Children can learn empathy through reading, so exposing your child to plenty of books while they're still young will help. You can also lead by example.

When your child is feeling upset, try to get on their level instead of getting annoyed with them so you can understand their needs. Over time, they'll start applying this to their relationships with others. 

6. Patience 

Patience is a virtue, but it's also one of the toughest social skills for young children to learn!

Consider how slowly time moved when you were a child. Years, months, and even weeks felt so much longer because you hadn't been alive as long! For a kid, being patient seems impossible when a day feels like it lasts an entire week.

Social Skills for Kids Are Crucial

These social skills for kids will help your child thrive all the way through adulthood. Start them off on the right track and help them improve social skills while they're still young!

Are you looking for books that can help your child learn and grow? Check out our supply of adapted books that are suitable for all children. They'll learn to love to read!

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