Social Skills That Are Important for Second Grade

Social and Emotional Developmental Milestones for Second Grade

Two Little Girls Looking at a Tablet in Class

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Social skills that are important for second grade are those that show your child is gaining a sense of independence and self-awareness. As the academic expectations for your child ask them to think more for themself and do some out-of-the-box problem-solving, their ability to feel confident and capable will play a big role in a successful second-grade year.

Skill: Begins to become more self-aware; recognizes strengths and weaknesses in their abilities.

Why It's Important: Parents spend a lot of time praising children (too much time, some may argue) and encouraging them to excel in all realms. Most children can't live up to the expectation of excelling at everything they try. Having a good idea of the areas in which they need to focus more energy can help reduce your child's frustration with schoolwork as it becomes more complex.

Skill: Is gaining more self-control in their behavior and is somewhat able to modify how they act according to the circumstances in which they find themself.

Why It's Important: Not only will your second grader have different teachers for special classes like Music and Physical Education, but they may also be switching teachers for some other subjects. They will begin to discover that not all teachers have the same class rules and expectations, and they will need to be able to conform to the differences. They may be engaging in more after-school activities and must begin to adapt to those different environments and expectations.

Skill: Understands that failing to meet expectations will result in a consequence of some sort.

Why It's Important: Among the other things your child learns in second grade is an increased sense of responsibility for their own actions. They need to know that those actions can have both positive and negative consequences. Take note that second graders need those consequences spelled out clearly and in advance, especially since they will begin to look for loopholes when faced with discipline.

Skill: Expresses their opinions more freely, even if they don't align with the views of peers or adults.

Why It's Important: At first glance, it may not seem like a positive social skill, but being able to stand behind an opinion will help your child deal with bullies, write a strong book report, or take a stance in a classroom debate.

Skill: Participates in group activities.

Why It's Important: Working and playing with others will be a part of your child's academic and social setting for many years to come. Further skills come into play as part of a group. These include showing respect, empathy, and caring for others in the group. Conflicts will naturally arise in groups, and a second grader should be able to use language to help resolve conflicts as well as know when to get help to resolve them. Your child is likely to enjoy being part of a team or club and spending more time with other children.

4 Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age).

  2. National Education Association. Social Skills Kids Need to Succeed: Why We Should Teach Manners & Etiquette in School.

  3. Robichaud M, Lessard J, Labell L, Mageau GA. The Role of Logical Consequences and Autonomy Support in Children’s Anticipated Reactions of Anger and Empathy. J Child Fam Stud. 2020;29:1511-1524. doi:10.1007/s10826-019-01594-3

  4. Avşar F, Ayaz Alkaya S. The effectiveness of assertiveness training for school-aged children on bullying and assertiveness level. J Pediatr Nurs. 2017;36:186-190. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2017.06.020