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Children’s Social Skills In Kindergarten Matter More Than Their Academics

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Children’s Social Skills In Kindergarten

Well, if you thought that your five-year-old’s ability to read the list of 100 most frequently used words by the end of kindergarten guaranteed him/her success as an adult, know that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

One study published in 2015  has shown that social skills are more important to the development of  children at this age than academic skills.

The researchers found “statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.”

So, there you have it. Children’s social skills in kindergarten are a way better predictive of success in adulthood than early academics.

So, while a lot of schools and parents may be feeling the pressure to reduce social interaction and play so that children can have more time to devote to developing academic skills, it’s, in fact, the social skills which are more predictive of success in adulthood.

Following are 5 essential social skills you can foster in your child:

1.How to solve problems.

Yes, you are great at solving problems since you get so much practice as a parent. Well, your child needs to get some of that practice as well.

So, the next time, your kid has a problem, make sure you ask them to participate in the problem- solving process. Ask them to tell you what’s happening and suggest solutions to the problem.

What’s important for you to know is that by teaching your kid how to problem-solve, you also teach them how to make a mistake and try again. You teach them that we can learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves.

2. How to name and identify feelings.

Kids that are perceptive when it comes to noticing and understanding the feelings of those around them are more able to get along with other people. You can foster this skill in your child by teaching him/her how to label and identify feelings.

You can do this in your home (“You looked so thrilled when your team won the match. Your face beamed with happiness!”) but also by commenting on the emotions of characters in stories, too, (“How do you think X felt when the accident happened?”).

3. How to play with others.

By playing with other kids, and grown-ups as well, children learn to share, take turns, solve problems, experiment, and negotiate. You can help your kid develop these skills by making time for interaction and play with other kids.

While football practice and dance class dates have their own value, kids need a lot of time engaging in play with other kids where they’re not instructed by adults.

4. How to control their impulses.

Impulse control is a part of the functions which are controlled by the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This region of the brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re well into early adulthood, but some of the fastest development occurs in early childhood. That is the reason why kids need opportunities to practice this skill.

For instance, movement games, such as Simon Says or Red Light/Green Light, are a good way to practice these skills as they require a child to control their impulses to move.

Additionally, pretend play is a good way to develop these skills as by assuming a new character, kids have to take turns, plan before acting, set rules to follow, and most importantly, act as they believe another person would, rather than just acting in accordance with their own impulses.

5. How to help others.

Being willing and ready to help other people requires kids to recognize the needs of others and look beyond their own.

You can foster this skill by giving your child a simple task in which they could help within your family, such as setting the table for lunch, throwing away the garbage, or watering the flowers, and then compliment your child for their helpful behavior.