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19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

Social Skills

Social skills are the skills we use every day to interact and communicate with others. They include verbal and non-verbal communication, such as speech, gesture, facial expression and body language. Social skills are vital in enabling an individual to have and maintain positive interactions with others. Many of these skills are crucial in making and sustaining friendships. Social skills help our society to work well. We start learning these skills as babies and continue learning and improving them during our lives. Social interactions do not always run smoothly and an individual needs to be able to implement appropriate strategies, such as conflict resolution when difficulties in interactions arise.


What is considered “Social Skills”?

  • Cooperation – playing your part in a positive way, i.e. taking turns, doing your part of a shared task
  • Being a friend - there are many levels of friendship
  • Sharing - like treats, belongings and ideas with others, (that means yours and theirs)
  • Participation - joining in and 'giving it a go' even if you are not very good at something
  • Being patient – everyone has the right to be heard and considered so everyone needs to learn patience and wait for his or her turn
  • Helping others - even the little kids can help others so that the job gets done or someone can feel cared about
  • Following directions - learning to follow directions or rules helps keep us all safe and well
  • Staying on task - getting our own job done and not stopping others from doing theirs
  • Accepting differences - every person is unique and special and we all have feelings
  • Listening - learning to be an 'active listener'
  • Positive communication and interaction - if you are nice to others then they are usually nice to you
  • Being polite and courteous - always saying hello to people you know and even some you don’t know (visitors and family friends)
  • Using good manners - when talking, eating in private, or in public
  • Respecting ourselves - others, and property, and accepting responsibility for what you say or do. This includes being honest and truthful
  • Resolving conflicts - when you have a problem with someone or they have a problem with you

How can you tell if my child has problems with social skills? You child may have difficulties with some of the following:


  • Eye Contact - Use fleeting eye contact, does not consistently use eye contact, or stares at you
  • Struggle with using appropriate body language (i.e. stands too close/far to another person)
  • Fail to use polite forms of communication (i.e. saying: please, thank-you, hello and good-bye)
  • Unable to start and end conversations appropriately
  • Interrupts others frequently
  • Be unable to maintain a topic of conversation and provides irrelevant comments during a conversation
  • Talk ‘at you’ in a conversation as opposed to engaging in a two-way conversation ‘with’ you
  • Doesn’t ask appropriate questions
  • Lack imagination – beyond just being not creative
  • Interpret what you say in a very literal way (i.e. when you say, “Can you open the door?” the child responds “yes” without moving to actually open the door)
  • Fail to ask for clarification if they are confused or if the situation is unclear to them
  • Tend to disclose (excessively) personal information to unfamiliar people or strangers
  • Inappropriate use of Social Media – oversharing on Social Media
  • Appear unaware of others and fail to read other people’s feelings based on their verbal and non-verbal cues
  • Be unable to respond to teasing, anger, failure, and disappointment appropriately
  • Appear self-centered – more than what is developmentally appropriate
  • Fail to understand the consequences of their actions


Many aspects of social development seem to be an innate part of a child’s temperament, but we also know that the environment can play an important part in shaping a child’s social development. There is no question that children with better social skills have a significant advantage in life. They not only experience the immediate success of positive relationships, but they do better in school, have a better self-image, and in general, are much more resilient as they face life’s inevitable challenges.

Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc.


19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

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