Helping Students Develop Social Skills

Circle of Friends
Improve Social Behavior

One of the most important things students learn at school is how to interact with each other. It isn’t taught as a subject like English, History, and Math, but perhaps it should be. And so, the subject falls on every teacher to teach social skills to every student, everyday.

Having possibly experienced isolation, financial hardships, and even loss of loved ones, students are yearning for a “return to normal.”  After being cooped up for over a year, many students will need a bit of a refresher when it comes to their social skills. Come to think of it, we all could!

Add the complication of having to wear masks, then social skills become even more important. With facial recognition not fully kicking in until the age of 14, younger children wearing masks can have a hard time recognizing their friends, let alone be able to communicate with them. There are ways to help them socially so we can all stay well physically.


Improve Communication Skills

Students need to speak clearly and make eye contact while speaking. Listeners need to put all distractions aside and give their full attention. Educators can make a game of it. For example, have students read instructions that guide other students through a series of tasks.




Remind them that even if they are wearing a mask they can still communicate with expressions. A smile can be seen in the eyes as well as the mouth. Expressive hand gestures and body language help with communication. Words, of course, can also express feelings.

Encourage Optimism


Model optimism by showing the students how to find the positive in what is originally seen as negative. A field trip being canceled for bad weather can feel like a real loss. Getting to watch a movie or play a game, and rescheduling the field trip can feel like a win. Encourage them to use positive words. “No worries,” uses two negative sounding words. “You’re welcome,” is a positive statement.


Being Easy-Going

After spending so much time with their families, students will have to relearn how to navigate social situations with their peers. Giving in doesn’t mean giving up. Remind students that when working in a group situation everyone can’t always have their way. When everyone makes compromises, common goals are more easily met.

Catch Them in the Act


Students interact with each other all day long. Acknowledge their acts of generosity and kindness. Make a game out of doing random acts of kindness in and out of the classroom. Have students share their personal favorite from that week.





Talk about how practicing honesty isn’t a free pass to say cruel things. The goal and intention behind the truth are what matters. The old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” still holds true.


Social Skills - Improving Behavior

For social skills lessons, check out the Real-World Skills Series for lessons on honesty, generosity and kindness; Real-World Skills: Social Skill – Improving Behavior (book 1) at

Or get this book from our Digital website

Real-World Skills: Social Skills – Improving Behavior – Book 1

Previous articleFree Comic Book Day Boost from Avengers Endgame Movie
Next articleGratitude Beyond the Thanksgiving Table