Help your child to learn social skills

Little girls hugging
Social skills are as important to a developing child as they are to a fully grown adult. Support your child’s social development with these practical tips.

Most people recognise that being successful in life personally and professionally requires social skills. Think about the successful people you know. They are generally self-aware and know how to understand and work effectively with others.

Social skills are required to succeed in friendships, school life, community life and eventually working life.

Try these tips to encourage good social skills in your child:

  • Model good social skills yourself. Children learn by what they see you do, not what you say they should do. So use every chance you can to show how you try hard to understand others, for example. You could do that by demonstrating how you think about another person’s feelings, how you try to “step into their shoes” to better understand how the world looks from their perspective, how you think carefully about how you say something to someone.
  • Explain to your child, as you demonstrate these skills, how and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Ask them how they could do it better.
  • If your child mentions a disagreement with another child, take the time to discuss it together. Take the 'side' of the other child and help your child see the different perspectives and the possible reasons why the other child acted as they did. Encourage your child to tell you what they would like to say to the other child, discuss with them how you would feel if you heard that. When your child is ready, encourage them to go back and discuss the matter with the other child and try to resolve it themselves.
  • Praise your child highly when they get it right!