7 social skills young people need to grow up successfully

According to a study by Pennsylvania State University and Duke (USA), children who have the skills to share, listen, cooperate and follow rules at the age of 5 are often more successful in the future.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that children’s social and emotional skills in kindergarten were the biggest predictor of adult success.

Children who lack social and emotional skills are more likely to become dependent on state assistance, get into legal trouble, abuse drugs, and experience relationship problems.

Children who have strong social skills and can get along with their peers are more likely to make friends. Research shows that childhood friendships are great for children’s mental health, giving them the opportunity to practice more advanced social skills, like problem-solving and conflict resolution.

Not having the social skills to interact with others is also likely to cause stress.

Researchers have found that children reduce cortisol, a hormone secreted in stressful situations, as they learn new social skills.

Illustration: Verywell

Here are 7 important social skills parents need to teach their children.


Being willing to share a snack or a toy can help your child make and maintain friendships. According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, children as young as 2 years old can express a desire to share with others.

However, children between the ages of 3 and 6 are often reluctant to share. Children know that sharing half of their cookies with a friend means they have to eat less. But those kids may be willing to share a toy they’re no longer interested in.

By the age of 7 or 8, children are more interested in fairness and willing to share. Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to share. Teaching children to share boosts their self-esteem.

While forcing your child to share is usually not a good idea, you can often praise your child for sharing and let him or her know how others feel about the action. For example, you could say, “You shared food with me. Mom is happy about that. It’s a good thing.”


Cooperation means working together to achieve a common goal. Cooperative children will respect when others make requests. They also contribute, participate and help.

Good cooperation skills are essential to creating success in society. Your child will need to cooperate with his classmates on the playground as well as in the classroom. Cooperation is also important as an adult.

By about 3.5 years of age, children can begin to work with peers for common goals such as building a toy tower together to playing a game that requires everyone to participate. Part of collaborating also means learning to be in harmony when things don’t go your way. Children learn that celebrating other people’s successes doesn’t detract from them.

When it comes to cooperation and collaboration, some children may take a leadership position while others will feel more comfortable following directions. Either way, collaboration is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about themselves and how they perform best on the team.

Talk to your child about the importance of teamwork, how to work better when everyone is involved. Create opportunities for the whole family to work together, such as preparing meals or doing chores, and emphasize the importance of cooperation.


Listening isn’t just about keeping quiet, it means really absorbing what the other person is saying. Listening is also an important component of healthy communication. After all, much of learning in school depends on the ability to listen to the teacher.

Documenting, taking notes, and thinking about what is being said becomes even more important as your child progresses academically. Giving your child plenty of opportunities to practice listening can strengthen this skill.

Listening is also an important part of developing empathy. A child cannot show compassion or offer support to another without listening and understanding what the other person is saying.

It is essential that your child grows up knowing how to listen to his boss, spouse, and friends. Emphasize to your child from an early age that smartphones and other devices should not be held when talking to others.

When reading to your child, periodically stop and ask them to tell you about what you are reading.

Help your child fill in the gaps and encourage him to keep listening. Do not allow your child to interrupt others while they are speaking.

Follow the instructions

Whether you’re instructing your child to clean their room or are teaching them how to improve their soccer skills, it’s important for them to have direction and follow directions.

However, before you can expect your child to follow directions, you must be adept at giving directions. To give good direction and avoid common mistakes, follow these strategies:

Give one direction to young children at a time. Instead of saying, “Pick up your shoes, put away your books, and wash your hands,” wait until you’ve picked up your shoes before giving your next command.

Avoid wording your instructions as a question. Ask “Will you please take the toy now?” implies that your child has the right to refuse. When giving instructions, ask your child to repeat what you say. Ask, “What should I do now?” and wait for the child to explain what he has heard.

Remember that mistakes are normal. Young children often lose focus, behave impulsively, or forget what they have to do. See each mistake as an opportunity to help your child hone his skills.

Parents should praise your child for following directions by saying things like, “Thank you for turning off the TV as soon as I said it.”

If your child has trouble following directions, give them the opportunity to practice following simple commands. Say things like, “Give me the book, please,” and then give immediate praise for following the instructions.

Respect personal space

Some children are very close. Many babies crawl into the lap of acquaintances without even knowing it, which makes them feel uncomfortable. Therefore, it is important to teach children to respect the personal space of others.

Create family rules to encourage children to respect other people’s personal space. “Knock when the door is closed”.

If your child takes things out of other people’s hands or pushes them impatiently, let them know the consequences. If your child stands too close to people while talking, use that to teach him.

Take your child aside and just teach him about personal space. As they get older, you can talk to them about the concept of boundaries, by setting their own boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.

Teach your child to stand about an arm’s length away from people when they are talking. When your child is standing in line, talk about how close he is to the person in front of him and remind him to keep his distance. You can role-play different situations to help your child practice appropriate personal space.

Eye contact

Good eye contact is an important part of communication. Whether your child is shy and likes to stare at the floor or simply doesn’t look up when engrossed in another activity, emphasize the importance of eye contact.

If your child has trouble making eye contact, offer quick reminders afterward. In a gentle voice, ask, “Where should your eyes go when someone is talking to you?” Praise your child for looking at others while talking.

Consider showing your child how it feels to talk to someone who doesn’t make eye contact. Ask your child to share the story while you stare at the ground, close your eyes, or look anywhere but him.
Invite your child to tell another story and make appropriate eye contact while he or she is talking.

Discuss how each situation feels.


Saying please, thank you, and being well mannered at the dinner table can help your child get noticed for the right reasons. Teachers, parents and other children will respect a well-behaved child.

Of course, teaching manners can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, as they often listen to one ear and ignore the other. It is important for children to know how to behave with courtesy and respect, especially when at someone else’s home or at school. From burping on the table to acting ungrateful, everything needs to be corrected.

To do so, parents should set a good example for their children by regularly saying “No, thank you” and “Yes, please” to their children.

Be sure to behave appropriately when interacting with others. Offer reminders when your child forgets to behave and praise them when you find them polite.

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