Good social skills are crucial throughout life. The development of these skills begins early in life. The social skills children cultivate in elementary school play a key role in helping them succeed emotionally, socially, and even academically.
As a parent, we know our children aren’t perfect, but it can be hard to admit that our child might need help beyond what we can give them. If you are worried that social skills don’t come naturally to your child, now is the best time to look for assistance. Most parents will readily seek the aid of a math tutor or speech therapist when needed. Help with social skill development is no different and just as vital.
To help you determine if your child could benefit from outside help, look through the following list of social skills “red flags” for elementary schoolers. If you see these red flags in your child, getting professional assistance is the best way to help them develop the healthy social skills they’ll need throughout their life.
1. He/ She has trouble with unspoken social rules in Elementary School.
There are numerous social rules that we are just expected to know and follow, even in elementary school. For example, respecting personal or “bubble” space, not cutting line, and using an “inside” voice when indoors. Do you frequently find yourself having to remind your child why it is important to walk around two people who are talking and not between them? Or explaining why it’s inappropriate to pick your nose in public? If your child struggles with these or other unwritten social rules, it may be a good idea to consider reaching out for help.
2. He/ She has difficulty engaging in conversation with peers.
By elementary school, children should be able to carry on a conversation by asking appropriate questions, listening to others, and responding properly. If your child struggles to initiate or continue a conversation with their peers, this could be a red flag that he or she may need help developing and refining their social skills. Keep in mind that some children are shy. This may make it hard for them to begin a conversation with someone new and that is okay. However, as they become familiar with people, their hesitancy should lessen and even disappear completely. If they continue to be challenged or more withdrawn, then you should be concerned.
3. He/ She displays odd or bizarre behaviors.
Sometimes children like to act silly and crazy. But what about when their behavior is improper such as touching or grabbing others, unexplainable like unprovoked screaming, or at inappropriate times perhaps barking like a dog while shopping? Any unusual behavior, particularly those that make you or others uncomfortable, are certainly a cause for concern. Fortunately, behaviors can be changed. The sooner you seek professional help, the sooner your child will be able to correct their actions.
4. He/ she seems to always be on the outside looking in.
As a parent, it can be painful to know your elementary aged child is being excluded by their peers. For your child, it can be confusing, frustrating, and lonely. There could be several reasons your child’s peers are essentially ignoring him or her. It could be that he/she may simply not understand how to join when others are playing. Or they may have traits that put off other kids, such as not being a good sport, ignoring signals to stop, or bragging. Whatever the reason they are being excluded; these are signs of possible social skill problems.
If you see your child in these “red flag” behaviors, you should know that help is available. Children are incredibly intuitive. Your child may very well know there is a problem but does not know how to fix it. This can lead to mounting frustration and greater problems later in life. The sooner your child receives the help of the professionals at The Social Skills Center, the sooner he/ she will begin to learn and retain the important social skills he/ she needs to thrive in life.