Social skills lesson plans are a vital part of any curriculum. These skills allow individuals to work, play and engage with each other in group situations or interactions that are more intimate. Giving children a firm foundation in this area furnishes them with confidence in social situations and builds their self-esteem.
Planning Social Skills Lessons
Focus social skills lesson plans on both verbal and nonverbal social skills when writing your own lessons. The ability to decode cues from both types and react appropriately to the processed information is a crucial one that not all children possess. Children with certain developmental delays, like autism and Asperger's syndrome, struggle to interpret communication clues. Lesson plans for autistic kids that are designed to teach social skills may need to be modified to fit their special learning requirements. Here are some key elements to include in lessons:
Manners do matter. Plan lessons around concepts like how to shake hands, answer the telephone, or make introductions. Be sure to include the magic words:
- Thank you
- You're welcome
A fun way to reinforce these concepts is by playing games. To help kids internalize the magic words, have a family competition to see who can use the most magic words in a given period. Catch your kids using their good manners and praise them for their efforts.
Learning to work cooperatively with others and understanding how to resolve conflicts are key social skills for all ages. Lesson plans for younger students could include concepts like sharing toys, taking turns and being a good sport.
The best supporting projects for these lessons are construction-types - building blocks or wooden logs - or pretend play. If you are homeschooling an only child, consider collaborating with other homeschool educators for group events to give your child more opportunities to learn about sharing and teamwork.
Lesson plans for older children could include modules on negotiation, mediation and arbitration to help them understand conflict resolution. When children learn concepts like using self-control, accepting compliments, or reacting to rumors, all their relationships will improve. Role playing lessons focused around future life skills like interviewing for a job or serving on a jury teach them how to interact in a wide variety of situations.
Children need to learn to express their emotions and recognize the emotions of others. Being able to decipher someone's feelings from facial expressions or body language is a valuable skill. Include topics like smiling, active listening, or nodding the head for younger children, and add concepts like standing straight, and maintaining eye contact for older students. Games like Pictionary or charades are great tools for teaching kids how to read non-verbal cues.
Ready to Use Social Skills Lesson Plans
Ready-made lesson plans save time and money for busy homeschool educators. Plans, worksheets, tests and other assessment materials are available from these resources:
- Model Me Kids: This is a terrific resource for individuals who are looking for lesson plans tailored to the special needs of children with autism, Asperger's Syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. You can try before you buy by sampling a lesson plan on how to say hello.
- Teacher Vision: Choose from lots of free lesson plans covering a broad range of social and emotional topics from bullying to feelings and emotions to conflict resolution.
- Teacher Planet: Download free lesson plans on two important topics: manners and etiquette.
Teach Life Skills
Having good manners, knowing proper etiquette and understanding how to form long-lasting relationships are life skills that everyone needs. Including social skills lesson plans in your homeschool curriculum is the best way to ensure that your children develop these crucial skills.