What Are Social Skills?

Social skills are what we need to build meaningful relationships and make friends. 1 Much like social emotional skills, social skills are essential for helping your child practice positive social behaviours and coordinate with others. 1 Learning how to properly socialize is important for your preschooler as it gives them a sense of how to get acquainted with their peers. Social skills aren’t just important for children—they’re also very important for adults. Having your preschooler learn social skills at an early age will allow them to build on their ability to communicate and work with others, which are valuable skills in adulthood.

Types of Social Skills

There are several types of social skills that your child should learn in order to develop relationships with others. 1 Social skills that are particularly important for preschoolers include:

Communication Skills

There is more to communication skills than just talking. Using the right words for a given situation, smiling, facial expressions, making eye contact, and listening carefully to conversations are also essential for good communication. 1 Having good communication skills is the key to making friends and establishing a good social network. 2 Some good communication skills include knowing how to start conversations and keep them going, and learning to be assertive yet respectful when communicating needs. 2

Entry Skills & Learning to Be Part of a Group

Whether it’s on the playground or during cleanup time at daycare, your preschooler will likely have to interact with others in group settings. Before learning how to act around others, entry skills are necessary for knowing how to join a group. 1 This will be a useful skill for your preschooler when they need to ask to be included in a game or activity. Learning to be a part of a group by knowing when to share, take turns, follow rules, and help others will help your preschooler respect others in a group. 1

Feelings & Emotions

Feelings and emotions are also important things your preschooler should understand. Emotional competence is key to developing strong emotional skills. 1 Knowing about emotions can also help your preschooler become a supportive and kind friend, which is important for maintaining friendships.

Activities to Help Your Preschooler Develop Social Skills

Social skills are learned through a repeated process 3 . Because parents tend to have the most influence on how a child’s social skills develop, it’s important that you take the time to practice social skills with your preschooler. 1 Some activities you can try include:

Imaginary Play

Giving your child plenty of opportunities to play pretend will be helpful in developing their social skills. 1 Some fun imaginary play activities include dress-up, playing house, acting out stories, and making fun dances. Imaginary play activities can be done alone or in a group setting. Be sure to encourage your child by participating in these activities or changing out props to help them think of new ideas.

Playing with Blocks

Using toy blocks to build structures will allow your child to get creative and accomplish something. 1 Having more people to play blocks with will give your child the opportunity to work with others and compromise to make a collaborative structure.

Practicing Good Manners

Good manners are important for building social skills and having conversations. Teach your child to be polite and to make a habit of saying “please” and “thank you” in the house. You can also have your child help with simple chores to help encourage them to pick up after themselves outside of the house.


A good bedtime story every night will allow you to spend some quality time with your preschooler while helping them get an idea of how characters socialize in stories. Plus, it’s a great way to help them go to sleep at the end of the day.

Get Creative

Give your preschooler the space and materials to allow them to unleash their creativity. Provide them with fun things like playdough, paint sets, construction paper, scissors, and coloured pencils to let them express themselves and build on their social skills.

After practicing social skills to nurture your preschooler’s development, you can also support their brain health by feeding them some healthy snacks. Serve up their favourite snacks along with a nutritional drink for kids like Enfagrow A+ to satisfy their tummy and support their growth*.

1. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/pregnancy-parenting/parenting-preschoolers-3-5-years/caring-your-preschooler/connecting-your-1

2. https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/effective-communication-improving-your-social-skills

3. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/pregnancy-parenting/parenting-preschoolers-3-5-years/caring-your-preschooler/preschoolers-1