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Teaching kids Interpersonal or Social Skills

Posted Aug 24 2008 6:13pm

My daughter is going to be 6 soon and at this age, I am more interested in her interpersonal development rather than her academic one. Now that my girl is in kindy, I am faced with new challenges ie to teach her how to get along with others.

Quite often she comes home and tells me so and so "don't want to friend" her. I am not concerned about that because little ones become friends and enemies and friends again overnight. However, I am concerned in the following scenarios.

  • She tells me she dare not talk to a certain popular girl in school because the girl "don't want to friend her" and she is afraid that if she talks to her the girl will ignore her (how do I teach her not to be intimidated by others)
  • Her teacher tells me that she treats her more like a friend than a teacher for example she will go and poke the teacher in the ribs and tell the teacher "I want to talk to you." (how do I teach her to have respect for older people and figures of authority?)
  • Once someone pushed her near the stairs and worried about her safety I told her to tell the teacher if it happens again. Ever since then she has been coming home daily with tales about "I told teacher so and so did this and that." (how do I teach her that nobody likes a tell tale. I just told her that she should only complain to teacher if somebody does something naughty to her or does something dangerous and to leave the rest alone)
  • She does something naughty in school and does not own up. (I tell her that she should not be doing anything naughty in the first place and if she does she has to own up and apologise to her teacher)

Its things like these that concern me because I think one of the things that makes one enjoy school later on is whether you are accepted by others, your peers and teachers. In fact, its one of the things that makes one successful in life. People skills should be taught from young. Not just ABCs and 123s or 1+1=2.

But its not easy to teach the young, not easy at all. First you have to teach them the basic listening skills and how to follow instructions. Then you have to teach them by example and by giving examples or role playing.

I tried to teach her about respect and this is what happened.

MG: You've got to respect your teachers in school.

My Girl: What is respect?

MG: That means you must be polite to your teachers .

My Girl: What is polite?

MG: That means you must behave well in school.

My Girl: What is behave?

MG: That means you must have good manners. Do you understand what I'm staying?

My Girl: No. No. I don't understand what is respect.

By now she is crying hard.

MG: It means you have to have good manners towards your teachers. You must say "good morning teacher" . "please", "thank you" blah blah blah (I then had to give many examples and scenarios about how she should behave)

My Girl: I scared I forget. Will you remind me mummy?

Hopefully she understood that lesson. I think lessons in life is just as important as academic lessons. It is important to teach our children to be self reliant, confident, to have a good self image and be able to get along with others. One of the ways we can do this is to be close to them, watch out for signs of trouble, so we can help and guide them along the way. Going to school is more than just about studies alone don't you think?

Labels: About the Kids , Education , Parenting

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