The social skills checklist

3 children who are having fun and displaying their social skills - tots to teens

Teaching children to master social skills helps them to better navigate the world as they grow and develop. But have patience, and don’t forget that they’re starting from scratch!

Children learn manners and social skills from copying their peers and parents, and there are few things more embarrassing than realising your child is missing a crucial social skill – like when they tell a stranger in the supermarket, in matter-of-fact terms, that they’re fat. The truth is, acting in a socially adept way is expected, and everyday interactions will go more smoothly if your child understands how they’re supposed to behave.

Here’s a checklist of 40 social skills to work on with your child to help them successfully interact with the rest of the world. Are there any gaps in your child’s social skills? What needs working on?

  1. Being kind (even when there’s no reward).
  2. Using people’s preferred names and pronouncing them properly.
  3. Communicating with others clearly, and confidently sharing ideas.
  4. Making eye contact, recognising nonverbal cues, and reading body language.
  5. Being polite and demonstrating good manners no matter whom you’re talking to.
  6. Asking permission, both from grown-ups and from your peers.
  7. Accepting when you get “No” for an answer.
  8. Active listening and paraphrasing.
  9. Following instructions and directions.
  10. Using appropriate tones of voice or volumes for different contexts.
  11. Letting the other person finish talking so they can fully articulate their idea and so you don’t interrupt them.
  12. Respecting other people’s opinions.
  13. How to disagree in a respectful and sensitive way.
  14. Accepting and celebrating differences.
  15. Taking the time to think before speaking.
  16. Having respect for people’s personal space and maintaining your own personal space comfort level.
  17. Cooperation and teamwork with others.
  18. Negotiating, compromising, and thinking in a flexible way.
  19. Waiting patiently and waiting to take your turn.
  20. How to be a good friend and how to recognise good characteristics in potential friends.
  21. Sharing with others.
  22. Assessing and taking calculated risks.
  23. Getting involved and participating.
  24. Good sportsmanship and losing graciously.
  25. When to give others encouragement, compliments, and praise.
  26. Helping out when you see someone needs a hand, and asking for help when you need a hand.
  27. Celebrating both big and small successes appropriately.
  28. Staying focussed on a task.
  29. Staying with the group and keeping an eye out for anyone missing.
  30. Resisting and avoiding peer pressure.
  31. Leading by example.
  32. Problem solving.
  33. Being able to recognise and differentiate between expected and unexpected behaviours.
  34. Recognising the emotions you’re feeling, and being empathetic enough to register the emotions or feelings of others.
  35. Stepping into someone else’s shoes and seeing their perspective.
  36. How to give fair and constructive criticism, and how to receive criticism graciously (whether it’s constructive or not).
  37. How to resolve conflicts.
  38. Understanding how your actions can impact other people, and recognising when they do.
  39. When to apologise, and how to say sorry sincerely.
  40. How to accept an apology and forgive others.

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