Important Fourth Grade Social Skills

fourth grade friends - boys with laptop
Social skills are important for friendships in fourth grade.

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For many kids, the fourth grade is a pivotal year in terms of friendships and social relationships. The social skills that are important for fourth graders to have are those that help them discover who they are, who their friends are, and what they think about the world around them.

Recognizing Friendship Levels

Skill: Begins to recognize that friendship has different levels and that at this age these levels are frequently in flux.

Why It's Important: Fourth graders embark on simultaneous but opposite learning paths this year: working more independently and working in small groups. Knowing that not all kids will be friends, let alone best friends or even more than just an acquaintance, can make it easier for students to learn to work with new people. It can also ease some of the jealousy that arises when a best friend chooses to work with someone else.

Recognizing Friendship Characteristics

Skill: Is able to identify the characteristics of a good friend.

Why It's Important: Everybody needs a good friend and your child is no exception. Being able to find one who supports them can boost their confidence which, in turn, will help them be a stronger student. Students who have to worry about whether their friendships are good aren’t able to fully concentrate on schoolwork.

Complex Social Issues

Skill: Applies to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to understand complex social issues like war and poverty.

Why It's Important: As history and social studies classes begin to look more in-depth at specific time periods, it’s important for students to be able to grasp that the issues that society faces shapes what happens to a nation or civilization. Many fourth grade classes study the history of their own state or city as well as the nation as a whole. Being able to grasp the concepts of religious freedom or the ramifications of land ownership can give your child a deeper understanding of how they ended up where they are.

Consequences of Peer Pressure and Bullying

Skill: Knows that peer pressure and bullying can have an effect on social and emotional well-being.

Why It's Important: Though it may seem as though your fourth grader is still quite young, this is the time not only when some kids begin showing signs of puberty, but also when strong personalities take the lead in the classroom. It’s a tough time for kids whose bodies and emotions are not always maturing at the same rate. Cliques, bullying, and peer pressure are big issues in fourth grade and understanding that how other people treat them can be helpful or harmful can help your child not to internalize their concerns and ask for help when they need it.

Initiating Conflict Resolution

Skill: Is learning to initiate conflict resolution without external prompting.

Why It's Important: Conflict resolution is a skill that takes constant practice and refinement. Up until this stage, your child may not have been able to approach a problem and propose a solution without the help of an adult. Being able to start a conversation with a peer or a teacher about an issue with the goal of resolving it in a mutually satisfactory way shows that your child is maturing and beginning to think more globally.