The 5 Tools Your Kid Needs for Social Success

More Social Skills for Success

4. Listening

Why it matters: Listening is essential to mastering the art of conversation: You're doing it to get to know the other person.

Practice the skill: It's easy to recognize the clues that someone is actively listening: eye contact, open body language, an engaged facial expression, nodding one's head or asking questions. To practice these skills with your child, tell a story, something new and different with a few fun details that children might retain. Then pause and ask your child a question pertaining to your story. And then work on how your child might ask a question pertaining to the details of the story that would show he or she was actively listening.

Manners & Responsibility: Getting Your Child to Listen
Manners & Responsibility: Getting Your Child to Listen

5. Respect

Why it matters: We meet and greet differently when encountering adults, teachers, parents, doctors, or presidents, and we use titles to show respect. What is respect? Kids generally know what respect is, but have a hard time verbalizing it, so talk about what this means.

Practice the skill: Titles can vary from Mr. and Mrs., to Doctor, Professor, Officer, Captain, Sister, Father, Rabbi, President, and numerous others. Some of them are obvious while others are not quite as evident. Explain that no adult should be called by his or her first name unless they (or you) say that it's okay to do so. The bottom line is that titles are used to show respect. Have children open journals to write down the varying adult titles.

As part of this lesson, be sure to also discuss occasions other than meeting and greeting during which we shake hands, as yet another way to show respect: When we part ways, offer congratulations, express gratitude, or make an agreement. In sports or other competitive activities, it's also done as a sign of good sportsmanship -- and is often appropriately modified as a high-five rather than as a formal shake.

Your kids will use these skills forever, and if they are carefully honed, just like any other skill set, they will undoubtedly make your children's lives more rewarding and fulfilling. And when you first see your children confidently introducing themselves and making eye contact, or when a teacher comments on your child's respectfulness, not only will you be proud, you will also see your child's newfound sense of self-esteem.

Manners & Responsibility: Kids at Parties
Manners & Responsibility: Kids at Parties

Reprinted with permission from SOCIALSKLZ:-) FOR SUCCESS © 2013 by Faye de Muyshondt, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.

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