Children use a variety of social skills to interact with their peers and form relationships successfully in the playground.

These include:

  • Starting an interaction with a peer (e.g. asking another student to play with them)
  • Maintaining an interaction with a peer
  • Using different communication styles with various communication partners (e.g. talking to teachers vs. students)
  • Following the rules of play (e.g. turn taking, understanding different roles in play)
  • Using strategies to monitor, express and regulate emotions
  • Understanding others’ perspectives and using problem-solving strategies to resolve conflict.

When children have limited social skills it impacts their ability to enjoy peer interactions, participate in important peer learning opportunities and build friendships.Some children need more direct instruction than others to learn these skills. These children may need to be told explicitly what the social skill or rule is. Most importantly, children need practice! Practise these skills in real-life situations and give your child feedback on how they are going. For younger children feedback might be “Good job! You gave your friend a turn!” For older children, you might be encouraging self-reflection and discussion “When you said that, how did that person respond?”Amelia Fox

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