Q:

I know having good social skills is important in many situations, including school. What social skills should I be teaching my young children? -- For Socializing

A:

Both having and not having social skills can influence how well children do academically in school. You want your young children to be acquainted with sharing, waiting their turn, asking to use things, respecting other people, not interrupting, and managing both anger and frustration before they start school. Of course, they won't learn all these skills at once. As they continue through the elementary school years, you will need to continue helping them acquire these behaviors.

You can and should reinforce good behavior by praising your children whenever they exhibit good social skills. Don't overlook bad behavior in young children, saying they will grow out of it -- this may not happen. The sooner younger children learn how to behave appropriately, the fewer problems they will have in school.

What you do can help your children acquire social skills. You can show that these skills are part of the way you behave. If they see you waiting patiently in line, not losing your temper to rude drivers, taking turns and not interrupting when you talk to others, they will be learning social skills. And it's absolutely necessary that you treat your children with respect by making polite requests, listening to them without interrupting and avoiding any violence in your home.