Having good relationship skills is simply the ability to make and keep rewarding relationships with friends, family, and others from a wide range of backgrounds. The art of relationships includes communicating clearly, cooperating, and offering help when needed.
During these early elementary years, when children are in a formal school setting, they’re interacting with more peers and adults. This increased exposure to others begins to broaden their understanding of the world. Children at this age are developing the ability to identify their feelings and what causes them. They are also learning how to manage their emotions and behave appropriately. You can help your child develop her social and emotional skills. The concepts highlighted in this section are based on the five sets of competencies developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
Children at this age should be able to accurately describe relationships they have with others, and know what the traits of a good friend are.
As your child begins to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation, they are learning how to use polite language to interact effectively with others, to pay attention when others are speaking, and to take turns and share with others. Group projects and team activities help further develop these skills, but remember that this is an ongoing process, and it may take some time before your child is consistently able to share and be polite.
Most children enhance their social management skills through their interactions and relationships with others, but parents can help them nurture these abilities. With the ever-expanding exposure to different cultures and people in today’s always-connected world, building relationship skills from an early age can set your child up for future success.
Keep in mind every child develops at his or her own pace. If you have concerns about your child’s development, please contact your healthcare provider or your child’s teacher or school counselor.
Learn more about how to support your child with our first-grade relationship tips page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Maurice Elias, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Anne Morrison, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Lycée Français de New York.