Useful tools, Wellbeing
8 Essential Social Skills for Kids | Edge Early Learning
10 November, 2021
There are few skills more valuable than social skills. While the importance of personal care skills and education can’t be understated, it really is your child’s social skills that will see them through their teen and adult years. It probably comes as no surprise that they are best learned at an early age – here’s how you can instil them in your children.
The benefits of learning social skills as a child
We could go on and on about the importance of teaching your children social skills from an early age, but we think a study conducted over 20 years might be even more convincing. The research, “The Relationship between Kindergarten Competence and Future Wellness”, tracked 753 kindergarten students for two decades and discovered that children who were more likely to share, cooperate and help their peers were more likely to become successful young adults.
“In contrast, students who exhibited weaker social competency skills were more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol, and need greater government assistance,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr Damon E. Jones.
Beyond this study, experts believe that teaching children social skills can help them make friends, solve problems, ask for help, and communicate more effectively. Other studies have supported the theory that children with good social skills are more likely to graduate high school and university, and have a full-time job by age 25.
The reasons why are manifold. For one, interpersonal skills help children navigate social settings and create positive interactions with other children and adults – something which is essential for school and, later, the workforce. More and more companies are recognising the importance of ‘soft skills’ like social skills and are no longer hiring applicants based on ‘hard skills’ like academics alone. It comes with a greater understanding of the importance of communication and relationships in the classroom and the workplace – and it all starts in the first five years of your child’s life.
What social skills should kids know?
Now that you know why your child should have opportunities to improve their social skills, it’s time to find out what those skills actually are. Here is a shortlist of social skills for kids:
- Using manners: Explain why manners are important, model polite behaviour, and praise your child’s use of good manners.
- Working with others: Look into social skills group activities for kids and enrol your child in them.
- Good hygiene: Explain the importance of washing hands properly and model good behaviour.
- Taking turns: Use turn-taking language (my turn, your turn), model turn-taking, and use a story to explain why and how to take turns.
- Waiting and having patience: Make it positive by rewarding them for their patience, and keep a countdown or visual representation to help them.
- Personal space: Show the right distance by staging conversations, and have your child experience how it feels to be ‘too close’ when talking.
- Having a positive attitude: Help them understand that it’s okay to express their feelings, and motivate them when they are down – model that behaviour, too.
- Being a good sport: Avoid arguing at home to teach respect, and enrol them in activities where they can practice those skills. Find books that share social skills stories for kids.
Learning Social Skills Edge Early Learning
At Edge, social skills programs for kids are one of our primary focuses. Our inquiry-based approach helps foster communication skills, giving children the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with their peers. Having children lead the way through games and activities is excellent for confidence building and preparation towards starting school, and our many play areas – both indoor and outdoor – provide the perfect setting for children to create friendships.