Social skills topics

8 Important Social Skills For Kids And How To Teach Them

Teaching social skills for kids is one of the most complex, confusing, but rewarding aspects of raising young children.

It’s no secret that preschoolers and kindergarteners are naturally egocentric. Even when playing or interacting with others, many children have difficulty sharing, empathizing, collaborating, and cooperating.

HOMER is here to help you learn eight of the most important social skills for kids, as well as how to incorporate them into your family life.

8 Important Social Skills For Kids

1) Sharing

Sharing is a part of daily life. That doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Sharing is a difficult concept for young children to get behind. Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners have a particularly difficult time, as they are more focused on their needs and desires than the needs and desires of others.

This is normal. The feeling that something “belongs” to them is typically much stronger than their desire to please others.

Even though it’s hard to share, doing so is critical to a child’s social skill development, as it helps them keep and advance friendships. It’s also a great way to bond and show appreciation.

2) Listening

Active listening is an important skill that even some adults struggle with. Properly deciphering and absorbing information requires significant focus.

We all know this can be challenging for young kids, but active listening can strengthen their receptive language skills (the ability to comprehend spoken language).

Receptive language skills help your child:

  • Handle social interactions
  • Answer questions
  • Understand stories
  • Comprehend what they’re reading
  • Understand gestures

While developing their social skills, your child will come to see how important it is to actively listen when others are speaking.

Paying attention to what someone is saying and responding directly to their statements or questions is a big part of healthy communication.

3) Following Directions

The cousin of good listening skills would be executing the instructions your child heard — a.k.a., following directions!

Following directions becomes particularly important once your child enters into their school years.

It’s one thing to follow directions at home with their parents where they’re innately comfortable; it’s another task entirely to follow directions from adult authority figures they may not know well.

Your child will learn how listening and following directions overlap with one another. If they listen well, it becomes easier for them to follow directions accurately. And when they follow directions accurately, they’ll often be rewarded for their hard work!

Keep in mind, however, that multi-step directions are challenging for young children. To help them develop the ability to follow directions, give them one direction at a time.

4) Collaborating And Cooperating

Similar to sharing, your child will learn how to move beyond sharing objects to sharing ideas, stories, and work.

With good collaboration and cooperation skills, children will learn that working in a group gives them a chance to express their ideas and listen to the ideas of others. It allows them to see that it can be fun to work on a shared project!

This may sound simple, but for young children, cooperation can often require real effort. It will take time for them to learn to respect others’ opinions even when they’re different.

By working together toward a common goal, kids can advance their sharing skills to include both intellectual and physical (think: cleaning the dinner table with a sibling) feats.

5) Patience

How many times have you heard the cliche, “Patience is a virtue”? Well, we are here to say it one more time!

It’s normal for young children to be impatient. However, patience really is one of the most rewarding social skills for kids.

Patience is critical for many things, including maintaining friendships and relationships and achieving big goals that can only be completed over an extended period of time.

This is where the concept of delayed gratification comes into play. When you help your child understand that good things often take time (not everything in life is microwaveable!), you nurture them into a patient person.

Learning patience takes practice and, you guessed it, patience! Trust that it will come with time (as everything does).

6) Empathy

When we say “empathy,” we’re referring to the traditional definition — the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Your child will learn how to appreciate the similarities and differences between their lives and those of people they meet. They will also learn how to empathize with these people, no matter how different they are.

For young children, this can mean small gestures.

For example, if their friend or sibling cries because your child is playing with a specific toy, your child may pause and say, “I know you want to play, too. Don’t be sad. We can take turns!”

But this sense of empathy will likely not appear overnight! Empathy develops over time and across a variety of scenarios.

The easiest way to promote your child’s development of empathy is by showing it in action. When you extend grace to your child often, they will learn how to extend it back.

7) Respecting Boundaries

Some people require different emotional and physical boundaries than your child.

This can be a particularly difficult concept to learn, especially for very young children who receive most of their socialization from within the household.

Likely, if your child is extroverted, they may assume everyone is OK with hugs, questions, or lots of chit-chat. In some cases, they may be right! In others, they may accidentally cross boundaries in their efforts to be friendly.

Teaching your child how to ask permission and identify boundaries helps them establish a sense of respect between themselves and others. The same goes for helping them establish boundaries for themselves.

Let your child know that it’s OK to say no to hugs, kisses, or other displays of affection from someone — no matter who it may be — if they feel uncomfortable. Model this idea by asking questions yourself (“Would you like a hug?”).

When they make their boundaries clear and ask for others to do the same, it will make both parties feel much more at-home.

8) Positivity

Working on positivity can make it exponentially easier for your child to tackle many of the other social skills for kids we’ve mentioned, especially patience, boundaries, listening, and sharing.

With a positive attitude, your child will find it easier to make and keep friends, succeed in school, and achieve their goals.

The easiest way to demonstrate positivity is by modeling it. The more positive you are about your child’s social skill development (including their inevitable slip-ups), the more reassured and positive they will become themselves.

This doesn’t mean you have to be positive all the time. In fact, a healthy amount of honest criticism can be beneficial in helping your child learn to express their feelings.

To do this, start with your own emotions. Let them know how you’re feeling and how you’re managing it in real time if you can. Kids need to know it’s OK to be sad, angry, or mad sometimes and how to handle it.

How To Teach Social Skills To Kids

Now that you know what social skills for kids to include, how do you go about teaching them at home? Let’s take a look!

Normalize Mistakes

Your child should know that you do not expect perfection. There is no way to execute all of these social skills every time, everywhere, without mistakes.

That is OK! In fact, it’s encouraged. Mistakes are normal; they’re how we learn what went right or wrong.

Make sure you normalize this for your child. If they know all humans learn lessons this way, it’ll be easier for them to push through the sting of a mistake and try again.

Encourage Sharing (Without Violating Boundaries!)

Although sharing is great and should be encouraged, there may be some things that are special to your child that they don’t want to share. This can be especially true of stuffed animals, blankets, or special toys.

This is OK, too! It’s great for your child to set boundaries that you and other children respect. To encourage sharing, try not to force it.

Encouraging without forcing also demonstrates to kids how boundaries can be created, acknowledged, and respected between people.

This will motivate them to share with those around them by taking comfort in the fact that what is special to them has been kept sacred and separate. It will also encourage them to be direct about their and others’ boundaries when it comes to play, school, or emotional issues.

Check Their Listening

During social interactions within your own family or outside of it, pay attention to your child’s listening skills. You can observe them to see if they are listening carefully.

Do they seem engaged? Are the asking questions?

And remember it is just as important to listen to your child. This shows them that what they are saying is important and encourages them to listen to you in return.

Think About How You Give Directions

In teaching social skills for kids, the parent or authority figure is responsible for ensuring the directions they give are something a young child can execute successfully.

When giving instructions, be clear, firm, and gentle. As we mentioned earlier, children have a very difficult time executing tasks with many directions at once. Start with one direction at a time that your child can focus on.

When giving instructions, have your child repeat what you want them to do. Only give an additional instruction when the first has been completed. Repeat until the task is complete.

Your child can give you directions, too! That way they have a sense of what it takes to delegate, manage, and execute a task from start to finish.

Give Empathy To Get Empathy

Show your child that you think about other people’s emotions, too! This is less of a teaching moment and more of an authentic display of empathy.

If you see that your child is expressing an emotion, validate it for them. “Oh, I see that you’re excited. I love that you’re so eager and happy to do this!”

You can acknowledge negative emotions, too. For example, you might say, “I know that must make you angry. Do you know how I can tell? What can we do together to make you feel less unhappy?”

This not only helps them feel seen and heard in the moment, but it also gives them a direct example of how to tackle empathy with others in similar situations.

Social Skills For Kids Are Essential

The more your child experiences the benefits of social skills, the more intuitive these skills will become for them. However, all children learn at different rates. With practice (and patience!), we know they’ll get there.

The Learn with Sesame Street app is an effective tool that helps kids learn and develop their social and emotional skills. With the help of their Sesame Street friends, kids learn how to express their emotions, empathize with others, and create healthy relationships. Explore the Learn with Sesame Street app today!


Free Printable List of 50 Social Skills for Kids | And Next Comes L

A free printable list of social skills for kids.

We've been working a lot on social skills with my son. Due to his hyperlexia and autism, we have to teach him directly about social skills concepts that develop in most kids naturally.

So to make sure we don't miss anything important, I put together this list of basic social skills for kids. And yes, it includes a free printable cheat sheet so you can reference it at any time.

The free printable list of social skills is a great start, but there's even more social skills activities and printables here, if you're interested.

List of Social Skills for Kids

I also encourage you to check out the free printable social scripts for kids as many of them align with the social skills on this list.

Here are 50 different social skills for kids:

1. Taking turns - 8 Strategies for Teaching Turn Taking + Free Printable Visual Turn Taking Cue Cards

2. Praising others - 7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Praise Others

3. Celebrating successes

4. Helping others

5. Respecting personal space - 9 Strategies to Teach Kids About Personal Space

6. Sharing materials

7. Asking for help

8. Being a good sport and a good loser

9. Asking permission

10. Giving criticism

11. Using appropriate voice tone & volume

12. Making an apology

13. Participating

14. Waiting until the speaker is finished before speaking (i.e., no interrupting)

15. Being a good friend

16. Staying on task

17. Being kind

18. Using names

19. Encouraging others

20. Waiting patiently

21. Communicating clearly

22. Accepting differences

23. Listening actively

24. Conflict resolution

25. Following directions

26. Paraphrasing

27. Staying with the team or group

28. Complimenting others

29. Disagreeing politely, appropriately, and respectfully

30. Taking risks

31. Accepting criticism

32. Accepting no for an answer

33. Recognizing the difference between expected and unexpected behaviors

34. Resisting peer pressure

35. Sharing ideas

36. Making eye contact

37. Respecting the opinions of others

38. Compromising

39. Negotiating

40. Cooperating with others and working together

41. Using good manners

42. Thinking before speaking

43. Learning to forgive

44. Problem solving

45. Being a flexible thinker

46. Recognizing body language and picking up on nonverbal cues

47. Recognizing the feelings of oneself

48. Recognizing the feelings of others

49. Taking someone else's perspective

50. Understanding that my actions impact others

Download the Free Printable List!

Social skills of preschoolers - the development of social skills in children

The development of social skills is a necessary point of education. A child with a high degree of socialization will quickly get used to kindergarten, school, any new team; in the future will easily find a job. Social skills have a positive effect on interpersonal relationships - friendship, the ability to cooperate.

Let's figure out what social skills are.

What are social skills and why develop them? nine0007

Social skills - a group of skills, abilities that are formed during the interaction of a person with society and affect the quality of communication with people.

Man is a social being: all our talents and aspirations are realized thanks to other members of the group. Others evaluate our actions, approve or condemn our behavior. It is difficult to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization alone.

That is why social skills are important. They should be developed from early childhood and honed throughout life. nine0003

Social skills are a reflection of the child's emotional intelligence, to which educators and teachers assign an important role in the process of personality development. Without this group of skills, a smart child will not be able to apply the acquired knowledge in practice: it is not enough to create something outstanding, you need to be able to correctly convey thoughts to the public.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that social skills relate exclusively to the topic of communication, communication. In fact, skills include many multidirectional aspects: an adequate perception of one's own individuality, the ability to empathize, work in a team, etc.

Why do we need social skills?

  1. Regulate the area of ​​interpersonal relationships: the child easily makes new friends, finds like-minded people.
  2. Minimize psychological stress: children with developed social skills quickly adapt, do not feel sad due to changes in external circumstances.
  3. They form an adequate self-esteem from childhood, which positively affects life achievements and development in adulthood.
  4. Social skills cannot be separated from building a successful career: the best specialists must not only understand the profession, but also have high emotional intelligence. nine0024

Development of social skills in a child

Social skills need to be developed from preschool age, but older children and even teenagers may well learn to interact with the world.

It is recommended to pay attention to areas of life that bring discomfort to the child, significantly complicate everyday life.

  1. Friends, interesting interlocutors: the kid does not know how to join the team, he prefers to sit in the corner while the others play.
  2. Verbal difficulties. The child does not understand the rules of conversation, is poorly versed in the formulas of etiquette (when you need to say hello, say goodbye, offer help). nine0024
  3. Problems with the non-verbal side of communication. Such a baby does not recognize the shades of emotions, it is difficult to understand how others relate to him. Cannot "read" faces and gestures.
  4. Does not know the measure in expressing a point of view: too passive or, conversely, aggressive.
  5. The child bullies classmates (participates in bullying) or is a victim.

In case of severe moral trauma, one should consult a psychologist: for example, school bullying is a complex problem that children are not able to cope with on their own. The involvement of parents and teachers is required. nine0003

In other cases, family members may well be able to help the child develop social skills.

What are the general recommendations?

1. Be patient

Don't push your child to get the job done. Let them take the initiative: for example, do not rush to help during school gatherings, let the baby work on the problem on his own. The same goes for lessons and other activities.

2. Support undertakings

Children's dreams seem trifling to adults, but the initiative turns into a habit over the years and helps to discover new projects, meet people, and experiment. nine0003

3. Criticize the right way

When making negative comments, remember the golden rule of criticism: analyze the work, highlighting both positive and negative sides in a polite way. Commenting on the specific actions of the child, and not his personality or appearance - this will lead to problems with self-esteem.

4. The right to choose

It is important for children to feel that their voice is taken into account and influences the course of events. Invite your child to personally choose clothes, books, cartoons. Ask about ideas, plans: “We are going to have a rest together at the weekend. What are your suggestions? nine0003

5. Personal space

Make sure that the baby has a place where he can be alone and take a break from talking. Personal things should not be touched: rearrange without prior discussion, read correspondence with friends, check pockets, etc.

Children, noticing the respectful attitude of adults, quickly begin to pay in the same coin; the atmosphere in the family becomes warm and trusting.

What social skills should be developed in a child? nine0007

Let's dwell on the main qualities and skills, the development of which is worth paying attention to.

1. The ability to ask, accept and provide help

Without the ability to ask for help, the child will deprive himself of valuable advice; the lack of the ability to accept help will lead to losses, and the inability to provide help will make the baby self-centered.

  • Let the child help those in need: for example, a lagging classmate.
  • Explain to your child that getting help from friends and teachers is not a shame. nine0024
  • Show by personal example that mutual help enriches experience: tell how you exchange advice with colleagues, friends.

2. The ability to conduct a conversation and get the right information

Being a good conversationalist is difficult, but the skill is honed over time and brings a lot of benefits.

  • Prompt your child for dialogue development options: for example, you can start a conversation with a relevant question, a request for help.
  • Do not leave the child in the role of a silent listener: when discussing pressing issues at home, ask the opinion of the baby. nine0024
  • Support children's public speaking: presentations at school, performances, funny stories surrounded by loved ones will add confidence.

3. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions of others, put yourself in the place of another person, empathize.

This ability will make the child humane, prudent. How can it be developed?

  • Start by recognizing the child's feelings - it is useless to listen to people if the person does not feel personal experiences. Ask your baby: “How do you feel after a quarrel with friends?”, “Do you want to relax today?” nine0024
  • After conflicts with classmates, ask your child how the children with whom the quarrel may feel now.
  • While watching cartoons, reading books, pay your child's attention to the emotional state of the characters.

4. Ability to work in a team

Many children can easily cope with tasks alone, but this is not a reason to refuse to work in a team. It gives the opportunity to exchange ideas and experience, delegate tasks, achieve goals faster and more efficiently. nine0003

  • If the child does not communicate with members of the team, try to introduce him to another social group: for example, the lack of communication with classmates can be compensated by a circle of interests, where the child will feel calmer.
  • Make the family a friendly team in which the child has his own "duties": for example, do housework, remind parents of upcoming events. Any activity related to the well-being of other family members will do.
  • nine0097

    5. Respect for personal boundaries

    The absence of an obsessive desire to interfere in other people's lives is a valuable skill that helps to win people's sympathy.

    • Respect the child's personal boundaries: do not enter the nursery unannounced, do not rummage through personal belongings and correspondence, if the matter does not concern the life and safety of the baby.
    • If the child violates other people's boundaries (takes toys without permission, asks uncomfortable questions), talk about it in private.

    6. Ability to overcome conflict situations

    It is difficult to imagine our life without conflicts. The task of the child is to learn how to culturally enter into a discussion, defend his point of view, and not be led by the provocations of his interlocutors.

    • Discuss problems that arise calmly, without raising your voice. Do not put pressure on the child with parental authority unnecessarily: the child is a separate person who has the right to an opinion.
    • Do not judge people for views that differ from those of your family but do not affect your well-being. Show your child that the world is very different. nine0024
    • You can demonstrate to children the basics of a civilized dispute, explain what arguments are, etc. It is advisable to teach this child in kindergarten.

    7. Self-confidence

    Stable and adequate self-esteem is a quality that not all adults possess.

    It is formed under the influence of many factors: relationships between parents, the role of the child in the family circle, the characteristics of the environment that surrounded the child in early childhood.

    It is important that the child does not grow up to be either a narcissistic narcissist with fragile self-esteem, or an overly shy person. How can you help your child find balance?

    • Praise your child for personal progress: to receive a compliment from parents, it is not necessary to win prizes in school competitions. The zeal of the baby, the interest shown and the stamina also deserve praise.
    • Explain, remind the children that initially they are worthy of respect and love, like all people around. nine0024

    Social skills will help in many areas of life: in studies, hobbies, friendships, building a reputation in a team. The main thing is to encourage and support children at all stages.

    Emotional intelligence for children

    Introducing children to the types of emotions, how to manage them and how to express themselves in teamwork, through situational games

    learn more

    5 important social skills |

    Every day at work we come across a variety of people, and not only their positions, but also their characters are different - therefore, by the end of the working day, the winner is the one who finds a common language with everyone. Social skills help you maintain respectful and sustainable relationships with others, moreover: according to research, good social skills can help you get a long-awaited promotion and earn approval among colleagues. In this article, we will talk about the social skills that every employer values ​​\u200b\u200band advise on how to develop them in yourself. nine0003

    Empathy - the ability to understand another person's emotions

    If you have empathy, you can put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand what they feel and think. Empathy is useful where it is necessary to reach an agreement, find a compromise or resolve a conflict situation: if you understand the motives of another person, it will be easier for you to find a solution that will satisfy both parties.

    How to develop this skill:
    • ✓ Be a good listener, try to listen to the "hidden" signals that the interlocutor gives with body language, gestures and intonation. nine0024
    • ✓ Treat others as you would like to be treated.
    • ✓ Before you criticize or condemn someone, try to imagine how you would behave in a similar situation.


    Although each of your colleagues may have their own personal goals, your enterprise or team has a common goal - to help the enterprise to make a profit. Without the support of workers, achieving this goal will be very difficult - if not impossible. Being collaborative means knowing when to ask colleagues for help or assign tasks to them, and how to work effectively in a team. nine0003

    How to develop this skill:
    • ✓ Take time to get to know your coworkers. Difficulties in cooperation often arise when people do not know each other well, and because of this they do not want to ask for help. Maybe it's time to go to lunch together?
    • ✓ Be receptive to the ideas of others and listen carefully to suggestions from colleagues. If you stick to a negative position in everything, others are unlikely to want to deal with you. nine0024
    • ✓ If someone helped you, help them next time as well, as cooperation is largely based on mutual assistance.

    The ability to speak clearly, both orally and in writing

    Communication is an integral part of everyday life, and it is very important to speak in a way that others understand you. A significant part of misunderstandings and conflict situations arise precisely because of ineffective communication, when something is kept silent or is not spoken clearly enough. To avoid such situations, the best strategy is to be direct in your statements, taking into account due courtesy and respect for the interlocutor. nine0003

    How to develop this skill:
    • ✓ Avoid unnecessary words and try not to deviate from the main topic on which you want to speak.
    • ✓ Try to speak as simply and clearly as possible so that everyone can understand you. There is nothing wrong with knowing foreign words, terms and jargon, but the more you use them in your speech, the higher the likelihood that some of your listeners (or readers) will not fully understand your idea. will be able. nine0024
    • ✓ If you have to speak in front of an audience, maintain eye contact with the audience—and keep your tone of voice so that those far away from you don't have to guess what you're talking about.

    Positive attitude

    Having a positive attitude does not mean that you should not feel upset or dissatisfied. “Positive attitude” means that you avoid criticism, complaints and negativity even in unpleasant situations, and instead look for solutions, express your opinion constructively and without reproach. If you maintain a positive attitude, it will be easier for you to cope with stress, which, in turn, will make it easier to develop good relationships with colleagues. nine0003

    How to develop this skill: