How to Gauge Social Skills in Preschoolers
Question: How can I be sure that my rather shy preschooler has the social skills needed to enter kindergarten?
Answer: Some children are simply shyer than others. Every child is not going to be a “social butterfly.” And it can be counterproductive to push such children into social situations that make them uncomfortable. Unless your child’s shyness is preventing him or her from enjoying being with other children, shyness is not likely to be a problem in kindergarten.
Many skills are important in determining if your child is ready for kindergarten. The ability to get along with others is certainly one of them. Below is a digest checklist from Educational Resources Information Center that will help gauge how well your child is forming social skills.
If your child exhibits most of the traits on this checklist, he is not likely to need any special help when encountering occasional difficulties. If your child demonstrates few of the traits on this checklist, he might need some strategies to build more satisfying relationships with other children. If your child has attended a preschool program, social aspects observed during that program should give you a good idea of how well your child will handle kindergarten.
Social Skills Checklist
The child usually:
* Approaches others positively.
* Expresses wishes and preferences clearly.
* Asserts own rights and needs appropriately; gives reasons for actions and positions.
* Is not easily intimidated by bullies.
* Expresses frustrations and anger effectively without escalating disagreements or harming others.
* Gains access to ongoing groups at play and work.
* Makes relevant contributions to ongoing activities.
* Takes turns fairly easily.
* Shows interest in others.
* Negotiates and compromises with others appropriately.
* Does not draw inappropriate attention to self.
* Interacts nonverbally (smiles, waves, nods) with other children.
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