Parent Resources

101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills by Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D.

Part 1: Communication

“Some children seem to be socially adept from birth, while others struggle with various challenges of social acceptance. Some children make friends easily; others are loners. Some children have self-control, and others have quick tempers. Some are natural leaders, while others are withdrawn. 

Many aspects of social development seem to be an innate part of a child’s temperament, but we also know that the environment can play an important part in shaping a child’s social development. In the last ten years, psychologists have become increasingly aware that social skills can, and should, be taught. Many studies have shown that shy children can become more outgoing, aggressive children can learn self-control, and children who tend to be social isolates can be taught how to make friends.

There is no question that children with better social skills have a significant advantage in life. They not only experience the rewards of positive relationships, but they do better in school, have a better self-image, and in general, are much more resilient as they face life’s inevitable challenges.


Effective communication, the foundation of social success, consists of many distinct skills. Social communication is a “language” and children are born with differences in their ability to learn this language, just as they have other learning differences. But there is no question that, with practice and encouragement, effective communication can be taught. Children need to know how to introduce themselves, how to develop a personal dialog with one child, and then how to maintain a conversation in a group. Many children who have problems in social skills choose the wrong tactics for interacting with other children. They may brag and try to get the attention of others, an approach that can often lead to group rejection. Other children may hang back, just observing the group, which may result in them being ignored.”

Next Week: Nonverbal Communication

Keeping the Home Language Alive  

Did you know that approximately 1/3 of the students at Captain John Palliser school are English Language Learners?  Each of these students are at a different place in their journey to becoming proficient with the English language. Did you know that continuing to speak in their first language(s) is an important part of effectively learning English? 

Here is why: 

1. Your child will develop stronger English skills if you continue to use and develop your home language.  
2. Your home language will help your child to learn. When a child knows about things in the home language, he or she will learn about things in the second language more easily.  
3. Your home language supports your child’s sense of identity.  
4. Knowing the home language helps children to communicate easily within the family and the community.  

(adapted from Coelho, E. Adding English 2004 Pippin Publishing) 

Phonemic Awareness 

Phonemic awareness is the awareness of sounds in spoken words and the ability to focus on and manipulate sounds. This means, students can assemble sounds to make words and break words down to make sounds. Phonemic awareness is needed before you can decode words in print and develop phonics skills.  

  Some of the skills for phonemic awareness that teachers look for include:  

·       Is the student able to rhyme words?  

·       Identify the first sound of a word? 

·       Segment a word into its component sounds?  

·       Blend component sounds into a word?  

·       Manipulate sounds within a word?  

·       Identifying sounds  

·       tongue twisters - consonant can be the same in many different words  

·       guess what’s in the bag - say a word syllable-by-syllable  

·       I say it slowly, you say it fast  

·       Manipulating sounds  

·       make riddles - what rhymes with pig and starts with /d/  

·       Sound Take-Away - What is a smile without the /s/  


Playing “I-Spy” using the first sound of a word as the clue and the child then has to find something in the room/car that begins with the given sound (not letter). This game could also be played using rhyming words (e.g., “I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with ____”).  


Alliteration game: Have your child make up alliterative phrases (a string of words that begin with the same sound – e.g. “Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”). These phrases can start off small. State the sound that the phrase should begin with and have your child see how long a phrase they can come up with.  


Counting Sounds: Have your child count out the sounds in a word. Use a card with segmented boxes and have the student place counters in each box to represent each individual sound. 


Sound Manipulation: Take away or swap sounds in words and child tells what is left. For example, ‘farm’ without /f/ is ‘arm’; ‘clap’ without /l/ is ‘cap’; swapping the /b/ in ‘beef’ to /r/ makes ‘reef’. 


Literacy and Clinical Skills (2019). Phonemic Awareness. Retrieved from URL Information-Sheet-3-Developing-Phonological-Awareness-Skills.pdf 

Reading Fluency

When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth.  

Children can read fast, skip words or pause when applying strategies to words they do not know.

You child may require support with fluency if:

He or she...

  • loses place when reading aloud
  • reads aloud very slowly
  • moves mouth when reading silently
  • pauses when punctuation breaks are not indicated
  • points to words as they read (after grade 2)
  • reads. each. word. just. like. this. (“robot reading”)

Ways to support you child improve reading fluency

  • model fluent reading
  • echo reading (parent reads then child reads)
  • highlight punctuation to remind child to pause
  • perform a play or reader’s theater
  • sight word games
  • listen to audio recordings
  • select books with dialogue
  • songs and poetry are often very fluent – sing songs together!
  • remind your child to let their eyes do the work instead of pointing to words with a finger

Zones of Regulation

Stress, Stressed Out, Stressors

We know when our kids are stressed, they are not ready to learn! We’ve all been there, STRESSED to the MAX!! What stresses do you bring to the job? Life?

Explicitly teaching students appropriate coping and regulation strategies will help them to apply strategies for the moments when they become stressed, anxious, or sad. We know that when kids can learn to self-regulate at a young age, they will turn into teens who can self-regulate. Self- regulation skills are essential for the success and happiness of our children.

Self-Regulation is the ability to adjust level of alertness AND direct how emotions are revealed
behaviorally in socially adaptive ways in order to achieve goals.

The curriculum encompasses:

  • Resiliency
  • Self-Control

  • Impulse control
  • Self-management
  • Anger management
  • Sensory regulation
  • We need to teach our kids GOOD coping and regulation strategies so they can help themselves when they become stressed, anxious, or sad. Typically, kids who can self-regulate will turn into teens who can self-regulate. Self-regulation skills are vital for the success and happiness of our children.

    Month of March Link: 
    Taken from Dr. Stuart Shanker from The MEHRIT Centre (Toronto)

Recognizing stress and stressors: Stressors come from five interconnected domains: biological, emotion, cognitive, social and pro-social. Heightened stress in any or, as is generally the case, several (if not all), of these domains leads to negative downstream consequences. Identifying and reducing stressors is the first step towards easing a child’s stress levels and bringing her back to a calm and focused state, and ultimately improving her ability to self-regulate. Stressors can vary significantly. What is a stressor for one child may not be for another. Even for the same child, what may be a stressor in one moment may not be in another when the child is in a different physical or emotional state.

Dr. Stuart Shanker from The MEHRIT Centre (Toronto) highlights the 5 common stressors for children in the early years are:

  • The child’s biology—for example, his or hers sensory/motor system
  • Poor sleep regime
  • Poor diet (high in processed foods)
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stressors in the environment—for example, too much noise, light or crowding.

Taken from “Self Regulation the Early Years “Self-Reg® resource developed by Dr. Stuart Shanker and The MEHRIT
Centre. Updated and copyright 2017. 


Math websites

Are you looking for some online math sites for your child in addition to IXL? The following offer a variety of activities for students. 

Playing card games or dice games with your child are also great ways to support number fluency.  Another idea is to pose real world problems to your child and ask them to solve it - what is most interesting is that there are many ways to get to a "right" answer! Listening to what your child thinks of as they work through the problems (which strategies they use) can be quite fascinating, espcially if they solve it a different way from you! This opens a discussion where you can compare how you each got to the answer.
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