Creative Child

The Back-to-School List You Can’t Buy in Stores

by Rebecca Eanes


  1. Identify the problem. Teach your child to state clearly what the problem is. “I want the doll but Janice has it.”


  1. Generate solutions. Once the problem has been identified, brainstorm solutions with your child. Try to give your child the leeway here, offering ideas if they get stuck. “If you take the doll, how would that play out? Yes, that would lead to an argument and isn’t respectful. What about asking Janice for a turn or finding another doll to play with?”


  1. Follow through with your solution and see if it works. If she decides to ask for the doll and Janice tells her she will get a turn next, then help her wait patiently until her turn comes. If Janice seems to forget or just puts the doll down, have her say, “May I have my turn now?” If Janice is unwilling to share, brainstorm new solutions.


  1. If the solution fails, go back to step 2.


Read my article Raising a Problem-Solver.

Effective Communication

Positive communication skills


  1. Teach her to use “I feel” statements. “I feel sad when you won’t let me play” is both assertive and good communication as it does not attack the other person.


  1. Help your child develop good listening skills. Read aloud to them and then ask questions about what you just read. Tell them about your day and have them repeat back to you what you said. Practicing this often will help your child become an excellent listener.


  1. Talk to your child about nonverbal language. Practice by using several body gestures and ask her what it communicates. You might try slumping over and looking away, rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, and different facial expressions.


Friendship Skills

Some children just seem to be a natural at making friends. They get invited to all the parties and are always surrounded by a group. Others struggle with this crucial skill. Fortunately, teaching your child good social skills will help them make friends and build positive relationships. Below is a list of friendship making skills to work on with your child. Again, role-play is a valuable teaching tool here.


  • Eye contact
  • Active listening
  • Knows how to start a conversation
  • Asks to join in
  • Exhibits good manners
  • Emotional intelligence (identifies and expresses them appropriately)
  • Respects personal space
  • Read social cues
Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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