>Social Competence

>Social Competence is defined as the ability to achieve personal goals while maintaining positive relationships. For children all this jargon means is, can they play while keeping friends. If your child’s play is often ending in upset, aggression or rejection, it is time to look at their social skills.

Two year olds should be able to work around each other physically, play without hurting each other and start to manage turn-taking. Three year olds should start to notice other’s emotions, set common goals in play and realize personal space issues. Four year olds should be improving in social entry (getting into on-going play), able to handle sharing and have solid emotion language (at least able to accurately label emotions).

If your child is having significant difficulty with social skills, there are several good books such as Raising Your Child’s Social IQ. In many areas, social skills groups are also available both privately (through psychologist, social work, speech/language or OT offices) and publicly through your guidance counselor at their school. Be proactive – Start teaching!

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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