Basic Social Skills Helpful for Starting Kindergarten

Series Part #12: Social Skills or Academics Needed for Kindergarten?

This isn’t a quiz or a test, it’s a thinking question. Would you say that academic achievement or social skills would have more impact on success after graduation from school? Would it surprise you to learn that it’s social skills? And how about at the other end, that of kindergarten entry? While most of us would say that academic skills are most important for kindergarten readiness and early learning, new research is showing that social skills need to be included and very most sensitive time for the brain to learn social skills is before kids start school.

importance of learning to shareOne of the first social skills that children learn is sharing. Helping children learn to share takes time and support.
At preschool and kindergarten, children will need to share many times so it is important that they know how to share and also, how to ask others to share with them.

practicing taking turns for kidsAnywhere they are together, children also need to know about taking turns. This is even important for adults; just think of the last time you had to line up and take a turn. Taking turns with others involves give and take and that forms the basis of relationships.

practicing waiting important social skill for kidsAnother important skill is waiting. Waiting requires impulse control and places demands on self-regulation. We don’t realize that being able to wait is a skill. Instead, we think of it as personality, but being patient depends on the tools we have to be able to wait. Some of these waiting-tools might be singing, playing games, reading a book or telling stories.

Surprisingly, being able to wait has been the subject of scientific research. It’s called Strategic Allocation of Attention. Studying years after high school requires that we be able to delay the reward. Spending years building a business means being able to wait for the payoff. Some people seem to be able to wait naturally, as part of their personality, but instead think of it as skill and, like other skills, it needs practice and exercise.

All of these social skills, and others, become easier with practice. They are important beyond the school years and the best time to practice and learn is at home, before starting kindergarten. Can you think of some of the ways that you can help your child learn basic social skills like sharing, taking turns, and waiting?

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