Using nice talk

Approaching and talking to others in a friendly way

Friendship and positive-adult relationships are developed through positive conversational exchanges that reflect the ability to cooperate in play, resolve conflicts and explore feelings and shared experiences. Children who use prosocial skills such as nice talk are more likely to report that they enjoy making and maintaining friendship.

You want to borrow a pen from a friend. You must first approach them and ask nicely using a soft voice.

Approach your friend and ask nicely if you can borrow their pen. Use a soft voice, perhaps a smile and make sure to use the word “please”.

Sharing about oneself

What, with whom, how and when to share about oneself

Sharing about oneself can increase children’s sense of well-being and attachment with others as it increases emotional security and buffer against negative affect. In order to share something personal about oneself, children must trust that the other person is not going to laugh and can therefore be categorised in the domain of TRUST.

A new person has joined the class and you want to get to know.

Walk over to the person and say “hello” and introduce yourself by telling them your name. Wait for their response then begin a conversation, tell them about yourself and be clear.

Sharing your things with others

When, with whom, why and how to share your things with others

Sharing personal possessions lets other know that you like them and also what you like and dislike, and can bring extrinsic (from the outside) and intrinsic (from the inside) rewards.

You want to share an extra tennis racket with your friend, you need to know how to offer it and trust she will not damage it.

Approach the other person, offer the racket and trust they will not damage it. When you need it back, ask politely. If your friend damaged the racket, you should take precautions next time when lending it out.

Learning about others

What, with whom, how and when to ask questions to learn about others

Learning about others is an intermediate skill as the child has to use basic skills to start an interaction with another child. To do so, the child has to think about what he/she wants to know about the other child, ask the question, listen to the answer, wait until the other person has finished talking and ask more questions if wanted.

You see a friend has a new book, you need to decide the right time to approach him and what to ask.

Find the right time to approach the other person, think about what to ask and remember to do it in a nice way. Listen for a response and reply back with something in necessary.

Not interrupting others

When and how to ask questions

Basic conversational skill that teaches children that a conversation is a turn-taking activity that includes listening, attention and respect for others.

Your mum is talking to your dad and you want to ask to watch a film on the TV

Be patient and wait until the right moment to ask for something. You could find something else to do until your mum and dad have finished talking. Once it is clear they are available, you should say ‘excuse me, can I ask you something?’ followed by your question you want to ask.

Receiving compliments

Saying thank you and accepting a compliments

Receiving compliments can increase children’s confidence and self-esteem and even as a buffer against negative mood.

A friend tells you that you have a great T-shirt

Accept the compliment, remember to say ‘thank you’ and something about it, if necessary ‘thanks, my mum brought it for my birthday’.

Respecting other’s personal space

Keeping at arm’s lenght

Personal space relates to an individual’s representation of the self and the self in relation to others. Being aware of one’s personal space relies heavily on an ability to regulate behaviours and emotions. Individuals tend to seek an optimal distance during interactions, and when this space has been compromised, discomfort or dissatisfaction occurs.

You tell your friend they are sitting too close to you.

If you feel someone is too close, you should ask nicely for them to move back. Similarly, if someone tells you that you are too close, you should take a step back and apologise.

Respecting others

Being attentive, empathetic, sympathetic, kind and supportive towards others

Being respectful to others can increase security within friendship and mutual trust. Many skills can be included under this skill as it requires children to be attentive, empathetic, sympathetic, kind and supportive towards others. It can take the form of not laughing at a child who is having difficulties, talking to that child and showing him/her that it is ok to be different or telling others not to make fun of him/her.

Some guys at school are making fun of a kid who has thick glasses.

Respecting others can mean making sacrifice, giving space to others and also accepting that people are different and not making fun of their differences. To respect others, you have to put yourself in another person’s shoes and think about what you would like to be done to you in this context and act on it. “

Introducing self to others

Telling your name, pausing, listening and asking others their name

Being able to look at and walk towards the person; wait until the other person look at you, tell the person your name, pause and listen to see if she/he tells you their name and ask ‘what’s your name?’ if they don’t and finish by saying ‘nice to meet you’.

Your brother invites his friends over for a party and you have never met them before.

Approach the new person, wait until they look at you then introduce yourself. Wait for their response then start a conversation.

Joining a playgroup

Observing the activity, deciding when to join and asking to join the group

To join a playgroup, children can for instance stand near a group and watch the activity, make a positive comment about the game and then ask to join the group.

Your friends are playing a ball game that you want to join.

Consider waiting until its a good time to join the group (not when they’re right in the middle of the game). Approach the group and ask nicely, don’t steal the ball; play according to the rules.