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Social skills are important for any age. Even very young children must learn some age-appropriate social skills because humans live in a social society and must learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Otherwise the entire community suffers the consequences. As for 5-year-olds, this is the year before they really begin their education. They must learn the social skills necessary to be successful in school and in groups. This is one of the reasons for the invention of kindergarten. The original intent of this program was to teach the social skills necessary for students to be able to learn to read, write and do arithmetic. Today, many of those skills are taught in pre-school and kindergarten students begin learning to read and write at a much earlier age. This shows how much society values learning, but learning must take place in a socially healthy environment. Anti-social behavior hurts both society and the children themselves.
The development of young children's social skills is foundational to leading a productive life. Specifically, professionals have linked children's social interactions with others to their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development regarding roles, sexuality, socialization, and personality (McCoy, Brody, & Stoneman, 2002; Salmon, 2003; Spitze & Logan, 1991).Children's social skills are particularly relevant to developing emotion regulation, self-concept, and communication skills, all of which shape later interactions with authority figures, coworkers, colleagues, and spouses (Anderson, Sabatelli, & Kosutic, 2007; Brody & Murry, 2001; Tucker et al., 1999; Weisner, 1989; Whiteman et al., 2007). In fact, researchers have linked deficits in social skills with negative behaviors such as quitting school, delinquency and aggression, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, development of mental health problems, and involvement in criminal activities (Ary, Tildesley, Hops, & Andrews, 1993; Bank, Patterson, & Reid, 1996; Bard & Rodgers, 2003; Dunn, 2000; Slomkowski, Rende, Novak, Lloyd-Richardson, & Niaura, 2005). Thus, the more we understand how social skills impact young children’s later emotional attachments, the more effective we will be in equipping young people with social skills to deal with others constructively (Lockwood et al., 2001).
Children must learn how to interact with others socially. This behavior is learned through observation and direct instruction. If parents are not available to provide examples for their own children due to work or other reasons, who will teach or model this behavior for them? Children must work and play with peers of their own age to learn from their own mistakes. Guided instruction is a must before children can sit long enough to read and write.
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