A Penn State professor coauthored a study that found teaching a child good social skills can have a terrific impact on their grades and their ability to get along with others. Faye de Muyshondt has taught social skills to thousands of kids in public schools and has seen the results.
"This is probably one of the most important parts of healthy living is one's social life,” says Faye de Muyshondt, author and founder of Socialsklz.com. “It is the social and emotional piece that is what we're really teaching here. We're working on equipping kids and young adults with a social, emotional toolkit for life success."
When we stopped by, Faye was teaching a lesson on first impressions and conversational skills.
Faye shows the kids how you can come across as shy, sleepy or unfriendly without even saying a word. Then she gives them some quick tricks like good posture, looking someone in the eye and smiling. Third grader Avery Nemo says she used to come across as grumpy and unfriendly - until she took Faye's class.
"I used to have not many friends in school, but now I have tons and tons," she says.
Avery's advice after you make that first good impression: "You introduce yourself and then they introduce themselves. Then you say, ‘How are you?’ Then you ask them a couple questions about themselves,” she says.
Faye has written the award-winning book "Social Sklz for Success." She teaches everything from how to manage stress and be a good friend to how to eat and act properly, whether you are at home or in a restaurant.
"I get to teach my sister and mom and dad about how to set the table and the etiquette,” says fifth grader Ethan Cambero. “Don't put your elbows on the table, that's rude."
With kids, you have an audience that is hungry for new information and not afraid to use it.
"With modern technology today, a lot of these skills aren't modeled for kids,” Faye says. “Kids are getting less and less face to face interaction."
She says these social skills very easily build confidence and self-esteem.