I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

12 social skills for kids to balance with the 3 Rs

Posted by contentgrrl on November 29, 2007

In Stop thinking you’ll get by on your high IQ, the Brazen Careerist compels me to see some social-skill gaps in my family. Will one of my boys be a wallflower with outlets in academics and stage like I was in gradeschool, or merely be aloof and mysterious? Will one of them be caught fighting every day like my red-headed husband was, the minority in a mostly dark-haired southwestern community? Will they feel more of a sense of alienation, or a sense of belonging? Will they be great-hearted and wise?

Our kids are not currently in daycare. My husband opted to become a stay-at-home dad. The big brother, almost 5, can count really high, read almost anything fast including movie subtitles and play all sorts of computer games. But he’s not unabashedly friendly like his 2-year-old little brother, who is just learning his songs, colors, and ABCs, and working so hard to keep up with big brother in art, make-believe, games, and roughhousing. Both are charming in their own ways. Their conversations are peppered with obscure quotes from movies, books, games, and songs. It’s puzzling to anyone who isn’t there playing with them on a daily basis.

So in addition to working on the fine motor skills like drawing shapes and letters, we’ve started to focus on social skills:

  1. Using courtesy (greeting, introductions, flattery, helping, please and thank-you, welcomes, bless you, excuse me, farewell).
  2. Keeping eye contact during a conversation (this is possibly more of a Western thing).
  3. Listening and reflecting what people say.
  4. Sharing and taking turns.
  5. Obeying rules, learning the consequences of guilt and exclusion for infringements.
  6. Choosing good, moral or helpful behaviors, and learning the rewards of pride and inclusion.
  7. Unlearning or avoiding nervous or offensive habits, like nailbiting, eating hair, nosepicking, tapping, foul language, and other behaviors that tend to alienate other people.
  8. Singing and playing along.
  9. Dealing with strangers. Some might become friends (and should be introduced repeatedly by parents). Some might be dangerous people we should stay away from.
  10. Distinguishing between truth vs. pretend. “Your name’s not really Spider-Man. Give them your real name.”
  11. Using humor to break the ice (something I need to work on myself).
  12. Reading nonverbal cues. For example, know to stop making that NOISE when somebody sighs heavily. Or change aggressive/coercive behavior to caring behavior when an expression changes to fear, pain, or sadness. Or empathize with a nervous new kid and say, “Hi, wanna be friends?”

One Response to “12 social skills for kids to balance with the 3 Rs”

  1. […] 12 social skills for kids to balance with the 3 Rs […]

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