20 Important Social Skills For Kids And How To Develop Them

Learning various social skills is crucial to mold children into optimistic and successful individuals.

Reviewed by Dr. Neha Mehta, MD Dr. Neha Mehta Dr. Neha MehtaMD facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon Specialty: Clinical psychologyExperience: 10 years
Written by Manjari Srivastava
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The importance of social skills for kids cannot be underestimated. We humans start life as vulnerable infants and eventually become independent adults by checking off several milestones. These milestones play a crucial role in shaping the many stages of development.

Possessing good social skills is a milestone. This is a quality a child learns from others since their birth. Participating in social activities, such as sports and games, gives them a chance to enhance their soft skills. Certain actions, such as defending a friend who’s being teased, solving issues, being confident, and sharing things with others, are a few good examples of social skills among children.

It is essential to know which social skill suits a situation. Children pick up these cues better if they are put in such situations. Hence, social skills training for a child must begin at an early age. The more they participate in such activities, the better they can navigate their social skills to become confident and dignified adults.

In this post, we elaborate on social skills for kids. We have also included a few basic social skills and a few tips to help your child express themselves better.

20 Basic Social Skills For Kids

Here are some basic social skills that you can teach your children to help them build positive relationships.

  1. Possessing good values: This can be as simple as teaching them to be polite by using magic words such as please and thank you at appropriate times and encouraging them to imbibe the fundamental virtues of honesty, compassion, kindness, etc.
  1. Being optimistic: Instill a positive attitude in them by teaching them how to look at the brighter side of things and be more optimistic. Often, children learn to look at things the way their parents do. Thus, if you remain positive in life, your children will pick up the same attitude.
  1. Working as a team: Learning to work as a team by listening, collaborating, helping, and doing their fair share is a vital social skill. When your child learns how to be part of a team, they will also learn to be patient and respectful and understand the need to make compromises.
  1. Practicing good hygiene: Teach them self-care tips and make them understand that they become more appealing and approachable to others when they keep themselves neat, clean, and well-groomed. Even something as simple as covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze makes a huge impression on others.
  1. Practicing turn-taking: It is an essential skill that helps one show respect and courtesy towards others. The child is given a platform to interact with their partner by providing information and receiving information. You could model this behavior during your everyday conversations.
  1. Being patient: Being patient is a critical skill for the times they have to wait for something. It builds self-control in young children and makes them appear more socially acceptable. Besides, research suggests that patient people enjoy better health, make better friends and neighbors, and achieve their goals (1).
  1. Greeting people cordially: This helps in establishing positive community ethics. Children need to be taught how to greet people, even strangers, formally and cordially and not come off as rude.
  1. Being a sport: This is a positive skill to overcome losses. The ability to take a joke, accept defeat positively, and not lose their composure in difficult situations can stand them in good stead.
  1. Being good listeners: Good listening skills enable the child to comprehend information and remember it longer. It also helps them talk with others more clearly, understand and respond better under any circumstances, and understand people’s views. You can help them practice this skill by narrating a story to your child and later discussing it.
  1. Respecting people’s space: Teach your child the importance of respecting people’s personal space. This entails not intruding in people’s private matters, not interrupting people’s conversations, not disturbing people when they are busy or resting, and maintaining a physical distance.
  1. Remembering names: In a new social environment, remembering names, information, and stories told by new friends is a way to show interest in them. It lets the other person feel valued and makes your child more approachable to them.
  1. Giving a compliment: Let your child know that when you give a sincere compliment to someone, you let them know you appreciate them. This builds fondness and makes the other person feel good about themselves, thus helping you forge a closer bond.
  1. Accepting a compliment gracefully: A child should be able to accept praise from others gracefully. Good social skills are not complete if the child lacks self-confidence. Teach them to respond to a compliment graciously and without feeling awkward.
  1. Adapting to different situations: Children need to learn how to be flexible and possess the ability to adapt to a new environment. As they grow, they would come across different people with different temperaments and should take up different challenges. Adaptability is a skill that would stand them in good stead in challenging situations.
  1. Asking for help: When a child asks for help, they become adept at problem-solving and learn how to express and communicate their needs better. It also helps them learn better and be more inquisitive.
  1. Having good manners: Certain traits that a child acquires from an early stage, such as maintaining eye contact with the person they are having a conversation with, respecting boundaries, initiating a conversation, sharing, and carrying a pleasant facial expression, make the child look more approachable (2). Well-mannered children are undeniably more likable in any social circle.
  1. Being adaptable: A child is likely to adapt faster to any social environment if their communication and social skills are well-developed. Therefore, it is important to teach children to adjust to different social scenarios without making a fuss. Furthermore, it prepares the child to adapt and overcome different levels of social challenges in the future.
  1. Using non-verbal cues: Children who are expressive and use facial expressions, warm gestures, and a welcoming tone of voice are easier to communicate with and are a great example for other children to look up to (3).
  1. Understanding boundaries: Children at a certain age become more prone to using a harsh tone or language when cranky. If a child is taught how to alter such behavior in a social setting, it makes them come across as stable and sensible no matter the situation.
  1. Sharing: Children have to be taught how to share their resources with others to maintain a good relationship. This helps build trust and allows them to fall back on their friend in times of need.

How To Improve Social Skills In A Child

Here are some quick tips to improve your child’s social skills.

  • Arrange fun activities that interest them and promote social interaction. These activities could range from indoor games such as building a house using Jenga blocks to playing outdoor games with friends.
  • Engage children in activities that encourage them to ask questions. Examples of such activities include dumb charades, why bingo, Pictionary, and taboo. Asking questions during a conversation improves social communication. It is also the best way to gain more knowledge about a topic.
  • Introduce children to activities that highlight the importance of using body language, and help them express themselves using facial expressions and picture cards.
  • Some children do not enjoy interacting; however, they willingly engage in activities alongside other children. This is their space to make friends. And if they have a common interest, they may also initiate a conversation. Thus, surrounding them with children of their age can help them open up and initiate conversations.

Also, allow children to pursue their interests in games, sports, and extracurricular activities. This gives them the space to choose peers who share a similar set of interests and encourages them to interact with them on a more personal level, thus improving their social abilities.

Importance Of Social Skills For Children

Children learn social skills by engaging with people around them at school, home, or other social settings. The advantages of learning social skills are aplenty. Here are some of them.

  1. Effective communication: When a child puts across a point without hesitation, it gives the listener a clearer idea of what they want.
  1. Problem-solving: Children with good social skills are adept at resolving conflicts. A child’s social problem-solving skills improve everyday social functioning and influence and improve the quality of their social experiences (4)
  1. Bigger circle of friends: Younger children usually associate with peers who have similar interests or hobbies. When your child is friendly, it becomes easier for them to make new friends and keep those friends for longer.
  1. Cooperative behavior: A child should be able to adjust in a group setting. Good social skills act as a mediator at such times and make it easier for them to respond and behave in a particular manner.
  1. Assertiveness: Strong communication skills enable the child to be assertive when required. Confident children do not hesitate to say “no” when they know their intention is backed by enough logic and make their way through the toughest social situations in a respectful and dignified manner.
  1. Taking external help: Children who have a good way around when it comes to interacting get help in an easier way when they need it. Good social skills enable the child to command attention by essentially earning it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does school help develop social skills in kids?

Modeling manners, encouraging writing and group activities, assigning classroom works, and including stories based on social skills in the curriculum are some simple ways by which teachers can aid in developing social skills in children at school.

2. Why does a child lack social skills?

Some crucial factors that impact a child’s social skill development could be the family status, parenting methods, home, and school environment, teacher’s education and experience, and classroom type (5).

3. What is the meaning of social skills?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), social skills are a set of skills that aid an individual in interacting with others in an appropriate and competent manner in a given social setting (6).

Social skills for kids are a crucial skill set you must begin teaching them from an early age. You may direct your children to follow these skills by incorporating them into your family’s day-to-day life. Social skills such as self-caring, sharing, being kind, adapting to various situations, and greeting and respecting people could help them in the long run and shape them into better individuals. Indeed, it is not an easy task, but it is rewarding to see your children raised well and imbibing positive attributes. Moreover, learning these skills will make them more confident and charming.

Key Pointers

  • Being good listeners, practicing good hygiene, learning to be patient are essential social skills children should learn.
  • Arranging fun activities, encouraging them to ask questions, and pursue extracurricular activities can help imbibe social skills in children.
  • Social skills help children develop effective communication skills, problem-solving aptitude, gain a bigger circle of friends, etc


  1. Four Reasons to Cultivate Patience
  2. Manners Matter! 5 Expert Tips for Teaching Social Skills
  3. Nonverbal Communication and Body Language
  4. Olga L. Walker et al. (2013). Social Problem-Solving in Early Childhood: Developmental Change and the Influence of Shyness
  5. Maryam Maleki et al., (2019); Social Skills in Children at Home and in Preschool.
  6. Social skills.
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Gold medalist Neha Mehta is an RCI-registered psychologist, certified relationship and child psychologist, and a well-known parenting coach practicing in Haryana. She has ten years of experience in the field of counseling.

Read full bio of Dr. Neha Mehta
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