Social skills are a set of skills that need ongoing refinement as your kids get older. They aren’t something your child either has or doesn’t have. These are skills that can be learned and strengthened with effort and practice. Good social skills allow kids to enjoy better peer relationships. But the benefits of robust social skills reach far beyond social acceptance. Children with better social skills are likely to reap immediate benefits.
Social skills give kids a wide range of benefits. They are linked to greater success in school and better relationships with peers.
Cooperating means working together to achieve a common goal. Kids who cooperate are respectful when others make requests. They also contribute, participate, and help.
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.
Listening is not just about staying quiet—it means really absorbing what someone else is saying. Listening also is 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.
It is essential that your child grows up knowing how to listen to the boss, a romantic partner, and friends. This skill may be an even more difficult skill to master in the age of digital devices because so many people tend to stare at their smartphones when they are engaged in conversation.
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 are telling them how to improve their soccer skills, it is important for kids to be able to take direction—and follow instructions.
Before you can expect your child to get good at following directions, however, it is essential that you become well-versed in giving directions.
Some kids are close talkers. Others crawl into the laps of acquaintances without any idea that the other individual feels uncomfortable. It is important to teach kids how to respect other people’s personal space. Create household rules that encourage kids to respect other people’s personal space. “Knock on closed doors,” and “Keep your hands to yourself,” are just a few examples.
If your child grabs things out of people’s hands or pushes when impatient, establish consequences. If your child climbs into the laps of acquaintances or stands too close to people while talking, use it as a teachable moment. Take your child aside and provide some coaching about personal space issues.