Assessing Your Child’s Social Skills

Yesterday, I reviewed an outstanding book for parents concerned about their child’s social skills. The book is called “It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend” by Richard Lavoir, c2005. If the checklist below suggests a problem, or even if it doesn’t but you’re concerned, you should consider buying this book.

The Illinois Early Learning Project website has a number of resources about children’s social competence available at for children with social skills problems.

Social skills, the ability to make and keep friends, get along with family and authority figures (teachers, and other caretakers) and the ability to maintain a satisfactory reputation, are critical for a child’s success. If your child has most of the traits in the checklist, she is probably doing well in her social life. If your child has few of the traits on the list, she may benefit from special help to develop her social skills.

Social Attributes Checklist

The child:
____ Is usually in a positive mood
____ Is not excessively dependent on the teacher, assistant, or other adults
____ Usually comes to the program or setting willingly
____ Usually copes with rebuffs adequately
____ Shows the capacity to empathize
____ Has positive relationships with one or two peers; shows capacity to really care
about them, miss them if they are absent
____ Displays the capacity for humor
____ Does not seem to be acutely lonely

The child usually:
____ Approaches others positively
____ Expresses wishes and preferences clearly; gives reasons for actions and
____ Asserts own rights and needs appropriately
____ Is not easily intimidated by bullies
____ Expresses frustrations and anger effectively and without escalating
disagreements or harming others
____ Gains access to ongoing groups at play and work
____ Enters ongoing discussion on the subject; makes relevant contributions to
ongoing activities
____ Takes turns fairly easily
____ Shows interest in others; exchanges information with and requests
information from others appropriately
____ Negotiates and compromises with others appropriately
____ Does not draw inappropriate attention to self
____ Accepts and enjoys peers and adults of ethnic groups other than his or her own
____ Interacts nonverbally with other children with smiles, waves, nods, and so

The child:
____ Is usually accepted versus neglected or rejected by other children
____ Is sometimes invited by other children to join them in play, friendship, and work
____ Is named by other children as someone they are friends with or like to play
and work with

This is from an ERIC DIGEST. It can be duplicated without permission but you must give credit to the developers: McClellan & Katz (2001, March).

ERIC stands for the Education Resources Information Center which is the world’s largest digital online of education literature which can be accessed at


What Is the Best Way to Assess Young Children’s Social Competence?                                     Illinois Early Learning Project


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