What are relationship skills?
Relationship Skills are the ability to interact positively and productively with other people. Whether it is making and keeping a friend, being part of a team, or working on an important project with others, relationship skills are essential to our success, productivity, and happiness.
Like all social and emotional skills, relationship skills take practice to develop.
Activity to build Relationship Skills: Who is great at this?
The goal of this activity is simple - to help children and teens recognize and build important relationship skills.
The first step is to help children name and recognize important relationship skills. Take a sheet of paper and make two columns. On the left side list key relationship skills such as "says something nice about someone," "is polite," or "offers to help others." On the right side, have students write the name of someone who's great at this and give an example of how that person showed that skill. Start with a small list of easy skills for children to identify and then add more as they get better at recognizing relationship skills in others
middle school students:
Relationship skills can be particularly hard because they involve other people. Teenagers often struggle with relationship skills as part of growing up. Issues like being loyal to friends, keeping their trust, and being accepted while still being true to oneself and doing the right thing are very hard lessons to learn. Fortunately, there are many great movies that deal with these themes such as “Riding with My Sister,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Stand By Me,” and even “Toy Story.” Watch these films with middle schoolers and then talk about the relationship skill challenges portrayed in the film and who was great at solving those challenges and how.
high school students:
The ability to get along with all kinds of people is important in the workplace and in the community. Help high schoolers learn to form positive relationships with a variety of individuals. Have teens pick someone that they do not yet know well but would like to get to know better. The person could be a classmate, a neighbor, or even a family member like a cousin. Encourage them to strike up a conversation with that person and explore three things: 1) their interests, 2) their goals, and 3) someone they admire. Have them share with you what they discovered - likely they will have more in common with the person than they thought! Help high schoolers become someone who is great at getting along with others.
Additional activities for students and families
Learn more about the rest of the skills measured by the DESSA and access activities that families or educators can use with students K-12 to build their skills.