3rd Grade Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to understand and respect the perspective of others, and to apply this knowledge to social interactions with people from diverse backgrounds. During the late elementary years, your child is learning how to better-manage and control his feelings when interacting with others. Although he may not yet apply empathy to all of his social interactions, his ability to monitor other people’s perspectives is improving, and he should be better-able to see how his behavior affects others. For example, you should notice that he is becoming a better teammate through this development period. That’s a contrast to the “me first” attitude of early childhood. The changes brought on by puberty -- especially in girls, who tend to enter this phase before boys -- may affect how your child approaches relationships and interactions. This is a time of great physical and emotional development, and you can contribute to your child’s social success by supporting him through this very important and influential phase in his life.  

What Does Social Awareness Look Like at This Age?
At this age, your child is becoming more independent, and his interest in friends and social activities is growing. By this time, your child should know how to communicate his needs and feelings verbally, and understand that emotions play a major role in the nature of relationships. 
As your child makes friends and forges new relationships, he is developing his ability to respect and identify other people’s perspectives and behaviors. As he learns how to identify what others are feeling based on their facial expressions and body language, he is becoming better at understanding and evaluating social situations. 
According to New York City-based teacher Anne Harlam, adds that the way your child discusses friend dynamics and whose fault it was during a conflict usually sheds light on how socially aware he is. Is he able to accurately relate what happened or is he still looking at the situation through his own feelings? 

Tips to Support Social Awareness

  1. Model Good Behavior

    A child’s social behavior is best reinforced when parents are kind, sincere and non-judgmental. Remember that your child is looking to you to set an example of how to interact with others, and that taking a moment to consider how you interact with others is an important part of nurturing your child’s social skills.

  2. Share Your Family Values With Your Child

    To help your child learn about the need for respectful behavior, help him create a family credo, coat of arms or crest. Talk with him about your beliefs and expectations, and work with him to come up with a list of your family’s values, like trust, respect, kindness and generosity. After you have this list, ask your child to identify three different ways that he can apply these values in social situations. You may also want to write out all of this information on a poster board and hang it in a central area in your home as a reminder of your family’s values and expectations.

  3. Discuss Different Perspectives

    To help your child understand and respect the perspectives of others, talk with him about a book that he’s reading or a television show or movie that he watched recently, and ask him what would happen if the story were written from another perspective. For example, a book about King Arthur and Merlin the sorcerer can be told from Merlin’s sister Morgana’s perspective. Or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can be told from Charlie’s grandfather’s point of view. By doing this, you are not only teaching your child how to see life through different lenses, but also building his capacity for empathy and understanding.  

  4. Discuss Current Events

    Talk to your child about social issues like immigration and racial and gender inequality. When you’re watching the evening newscast or reading the morning paper, ask your child to give you his opinion on these issues and talk to him about the people involved on both sides. These types of stories make children aware of historical events and allow them to relate to the hardships and joys of others. They also help children to learn more about conflict resolution and the importance of respecting others and their opinions.

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Social awareness is the ability to understand and respect the perspective of others, and to apply this knowledge to interactions with people from diverse backgrounds. The following featured topics include empathy, kindness, curiosity, and respecting diversity, all of which are related to social awareness.

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