Social Skills That Are Important for 1st Grade

Social Emotional Developmental Milestones for First Grade

1st grade social development
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

The social skills that are important for first grade build heavily on the social-emotional milestones that your child began to develop in kindergarten. While in first grade your child will continue to work on his ability to communicate his needs and interact with adults other than his parents, this year many of his social-emotional milestones revolve around his ability to get along with other children, in groups and to see other points of view.

Social Skills That Are Important for First Grade

Skill: Is starting to discriminate between fact, fiction and fantasy.

Why It's Important: First graders are learning how to be part of a social group, as opposed to being the singular center of attention, a relationship which, at this age, tends to rely heavily on perceived credibility. Knowing when to tell the truth, when to stick to a story for play purposes or when to admit she's making something up will play an important role in your child's ability to develop and maintain friendships.

Additionally, as the academic ante is upped in first grade, students must begin to write both journal entries and stories. Knowing what's true and what's a good story will help to develop the ability to write different genres.

Skill: Relates well to encouragement for acceptable behaviors. Many teachers refer to this as their students being "caught being good."

Why It's Important: In first grade, students begin to notice other children's behavior and adult reactions to the behavior. Students who work toward being praised instead of simply reacting to discipline are less likely to be feared or ostracized by their peers. This skill also helps students internally regulate behavior instead of relying on outside consequences to letting them know if something is acceptable or inappropriate.


Skill: Begins to step outside of self to see things from another's point of view.

Why It's Important: Although this skill is really just emerging at this age, it plays an important role in both peer relationships and academics. Being able to see that other children have their own point of view helps students to begin problem-solving misunderstandings as they arise in the classroom and on the playground. This skill also allows students to delve deeper into their reading and writing, providing the ability to make predictions and find deeper meaning beyond the words.

Skill: Finds security in rules, routines, organized play and group activities.

Why It's Important: A classroom is a global community, the core of which are rules, group work and a sense of routine. This skill emerges just as students need to learn how to work together to create a peaceful community and solve problems--both social and academic.

More About First Grade Skills and Milestones:
Physical Skills That Are Important for 1st Grade
Your 6-Year-Old Child: Cognitive Development
A Parent's Guide to First Grade
Signs of Trouble in First Grade

Continue Reading