5 Formulas for Developing Your Child's Social Skills

5 Formulas for Developing Your Child's Social Skills
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

You’ve definitely heard people talk about social skills and the important role they play in a child’s development.

Keep reading to learn five formulas to help your child develop their social skills and relate to the world around them.

Social skills are a combination of behaviors that allow us to perform well within our environment, interacting with others effectively and appropriately.

These skills are important because they bring us closer to others. We’re social animals, which is why contact with other people helps us feel like we’re part of the group. As a result, it’s an essential part of the full development of our personality.

Within the education system, personal development is fostered in order to avoid problems stemming from isolation, disruptive conduct, or disorders based on a lack of or maladapted social skills.

Types of social skills

5 Formulas for Developing Your Child's Social Skills

We can categorize social skills relative to the resources a person needs to use them. In other words, there are basic and complex social skills.

The former are those that require fewer resources, and as a result are easier to acquire. These serve as the foundation for the latter.

There are many, but we’re going to group them into large categories:

  1. Confidence. This includes self-esteem and self-control. It’s important because it will help your children believe in their own abilities, as well as control themselves emotionally and behaviorally.
  2. Communication. This includes assertiveness, such as the ability to defend one’s own opinion effectively and without aggression; conversation, which refers to listen and respond; and persuasion, which describes one’s ability to speak in a way that influences others.
  3. Connection. This last one includes empathy, understanding, and controlling one’s own and others’ emotions. It also entails presence, which refers to the way we make others feel.

Within each category, and for each type, there are plenty of examples of social skills.

“The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between both people, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.”

5 Formulas for Developing Your Child's Social Skills

The formulas

How do you help your child develop their own social skills? Follow these five formulas:

  • Teach emotions. Help your child put a name to emotions. Let them see your emotions and make it easier for them to recognize their own. The ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions will help your child foster a sense of empathy, and learn ways of helping others by managing their own.
  • Foster social interactions. Children need social environments that will help them begin to interact with others. Give them the confidence to do so, while also helping them feel confident in doing it.
  • Recognize achievements. Feeling your support and pride will make your child believe in him or herself. When they do something you don’t approve of, tell them in a way that communicates that it’s the action you’re criticizing, not the child.
  • Seek out cooperative situations. Push your child to engage in group activities, which will help them feel integrated, and to find ways to solve problems that require contributions from everyone.
  • Promote independence. Autonomy is a skill that your child will acquire thanks to you. He or she will feel that there are activities that can and should be performed alone. This will help promote self-esteem.

What to avoid

Don’t be overwhelmed by whether your child is on the right path or not. They will look to interact with their environment naturally. Therefore, you need to only facilitate these interactions, and help when they don’t know what to do.

You don’t need to be overprotective. Life is full of conflicts, tough problems, and complicated emotions, and these things need to be faced. Put a name to what they may be feeling and help find possible solutions.

Respect your child. Your child deserves to be loved for who they are. Valuing and respecting them are the keys.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lacunza, A. B., & de González, N. C. (2011). Las habilidades sociales en niños y adolescentes. Su importancia en la prevención de trastornos psicopatológicos. Fundamentos en humanidades, 12(23), 159-182.
  • Monjas, M. I. (2000) Programa de Enseñanza de Habilidades de Interacción Social (PEHIS) para niños y niñas en edad escolar Madrid: Ciencias de la Educación Preescolar y Es- pecial CEPE
  • Rogoff, B. (1993). Aprendices del pensamiento. El desarrollo cognitivo en el contexto social.Barcelona: Paidos
  • Valencia, L. I., & López, G. C. H. (2010). El desempeño en habilidades sociales en niños, de dos y tres años de edad, y su relación con los estilos de interacción parental. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 8(3), 1051-1076. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/2931/293122000007.pdf
  • Vigotsky, L. (1979). El desarrollo de los procesos psicológicos superiores. Barcelona: Grijal- bo

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.