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Following social rules

At a Glance: How to Help Your Grade-Schooler Follow Social Rules

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Grade-schoolers who have trouble following social rules may have difficulty making and keeping friends. Learn what they might experience and how you can help.

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At a Glance: How to Help Your Grade-Schooler Follow Social Rules

Kids with learning and attention issues might not understand “unwritten” social rules. Here’s how that can play out in grade school, and how you can help your child adjust.

Social rule not followed: Meet and greet politely.
Example: Your child becomes silent when you run into a neighbor. She doesn’t know what to say.
How to help: Role-play surprise encounters with different people and how she might say hi.

Social rule not followed: Takes turn talking.

Example: Your child interrupts a group of girls talking about their loom bracelets: “Look at the one I made!
How to help: Invite her to pay attention to your conversations. Discuss how she can be a better listener.


Social rule not followed: Pay attention to others

Example: Your child’s kickball team lost in gym class, and she’s the only one who has a meltdown.
How to help: Talk about how disappointed she was. Remind her to notice how other kids are reacting.
Social rule not followed: Think about others before acting
Example: Your child keeps whispering during the movies, even after you’ve given her a stern look.
How to help: Remind her that whispering keeps other from enjoying the movie. Talk about noticing expressions.

Social rule not followed: Cooperate with others.

Example: Your child is playing “school” with a friend. She insists on being the teacher the entire time.
How to help: Talk about taking turns and consider setting a timer so she knows when time is up. Praise her when she does take turns.
Graphic of At a Glance: How to Help Your Grade-Schooler Follow Social Rules
Graphic of At a Glance: How to Help Your Grade-Schooler Follow Social Rules

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About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright is veteran writer and editor who helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Molly Algermissen

Molly Algermissen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.

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