Social Skills Strategies for Parents and Teachers (page 3)

— State: Arizona Department of Education
Updated on Feb 25, 2011

Social Problem: Dealing with social norms

Parent Strategies

Social norms are those things most of us take for granted such as:

  • doing chores daily without being told;
  • eating with silverware, not his hands;
  • drinking from a cup, not the carton;
  • cleaning up the toothpaste from the bathroom sink before he leaves; and
  • asking permission before leaving with friends.

Before confronting their child for not following norms or for inappropriate behavior, a parent needs to be sure the child understands the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior. If a child drinks out of the carton, make sure he understands that it is not appropriate—and why. Let the child know how germs are spread before correcting him for not cleaning up the sink. Make sure adults and siblings in the family are role models for appropriate behavior.

Many social norms can be handled through leading by example and talking to the child about the reasons for choosing “appropriate behavior” vs. “inappropriate behavior.”

Teacher Strategies

Social norms are those things most of us take for granted such as:

  • picking up a soda can from the floor and putting it in the garbage;
  • olding the door open for the person behind him;
  • saying the ABCs, not burping them;
  • knocking on the closed bathroom door instead of bursting in; and
  • raising his hand to ask permission, not just getting up in the middle of class to get a drink.

Some of these norms can we worked on at the first of the year, and then refreshers given throughout the year. For some children, it may be a daily battle. Patience must be taken with these students. Realize that consistency is the key. Teachers may wish to enlist the assistance of the parent or older sibling to help model the desired behavior at home.

Social Problem: Interfacing with teacher

Parent Strategies

  • As a new school year approaches, parents need to start talking with their child, as well as the child’s teachers and any others that might have an educational interest in their son or daughter. What type of teacher is best for him? If able, try to select a teacher that can meet all the child’s needs.
  • When parents have meetings with the new teacher, they need to try to keep things positive.
  • Share the great things the child can do, and put a positive spin on his limitations. For example: “When my child reads a book, he has trouble with reading comprehension, but he is a whiz at recalling details, if he can watch or listen to it.”

Teacher Strategies

  • Observe and assess the INDIVIDUAL child. What are his abilities for understanding the process, for physically completing the process or activity, and his interest in the process or project?
  • Give approval and praise on a regular basis.
  • Encourage children to pursue activities that build on their own skill, interests and abilities. This will increase motivation and self-esteem.
  • Help the child learn from his mistakes, rather than get frustrated or upset. Help the child to turn statements like, “I can’t do anything right” into those with a positive theme such as “I can do lots of things right, I just had a hard time with this project.”

Social Problem: Independent thinking

Parent Strategies

Give the child opportunities to choose (as long as safety, morals, or school policies are not waived):

  • what to read;
  • what to wear to school (within dress codes);
  • what to play with;
  • where to go;
  • when to come home;
  • who to go with; and
  • how to decorate his own room.

Individuality helps to define a child’s independence and increases self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.

Teacher Strategies

Give the student opportunities to choose:

  • types of books to report on;
  • types of reports (written, oral, project, or group work);
  • types of activities (centers or physical, written/ oral);
  • types of exercises in Physical Education;
  • types of music to study in music class; and
  • types of class volunteer activities.


Bullock, J.R. (1998). Loneliness in Young Children. ERIC ED419624. On the web. Retrieved January 17, 2003 from:

Burton, C.B. (1986). Children’s Peer Relationships. ERIC ED265936. On the web. Retrieved January 16, 2003 from:, E. (2003) Surviving Middle

School. On the web. Retrieved January 16, 2003 from:

Sullivan, D. BabyCenter. Learning Milestones: Social Skills: Kindergarten through 3rd grade. On the web. Retrieved January 24, 2003. from:


View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.