Middle Childhood Intervention 6-12:

Category — 1.5 Kindergarten: Social/Emotional Skills

Social/Emotional Skills

Children’s social and emotional skills thrive during the kindergarten year. This is the age children start having favourite or best friends, and it is the age at which children start to really enjoy each other’s company, and hanging out at each other’s houses (Fig.1). Play dates become increasingly popular. The more friends a child has, the more likely she is to have positive self-esteem. Children with a positive self-esteem are more willing to try new activities. Good social/emotional skills are extremely important in their own right and also because are related to other developmental areas.

at each other's house

Figure 1. At each other’s house

There are some signs of delay in the emotional development domain. A child may:

  • be too clingy to the parent and refuse to let go (which could indicate insecure attachment to the parent);
  • constantly ask parents if they love them;
  • constantly ask others for reassurance;
  • be withdrawn and keep to his or herself, most of the time;
  • constantly refer to self in derogatory terms (For example: I am stupid, I am an idiot).

There are also some signs of delay in the social development domain. A child may:

  • not have many friends;
  • not get invited to birthday parties and outings;
  • struggle with taking turns;
  • refuse to share with others, even when asked to do so;
  • use parts of their body (for example, their fists) to indicate displeasure, instead of using language;
  • constantly hit, kick or bite others, for no real reason.


  • Children at this age really like to have friends and prefer friends of the same sex. Children who do not have any friends at all should be referred for an evaluation, as they may be struggling with issues that are likely related to their social/emotional development.
  • Children at this age are in the process of developing a healthy self-esteem. They are very dependent on others to determine whether or not they are “good” or “bad”. Most children will sometimes refer to themselves as “bad” or as having “done something bad”. When this happens children should always be reassured that they are not bad and that it is sometimes what they have done that is not very good. This is a typical part of development that may not indicate anything clinical or significant. But if a child constantly uses unkind language toward herself and states that she is “no good”, a referral for a psychological evaluation may be warranted good idea. It is not typical for a child to be constantly stating that she is “no good.” This could and probably will have very negative and serious consequences on her development if not addressed as early as possible.
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April 2, 2012   No Comments