Social Goals For 2nd Graders (A Parent’s Guide)

Children in second grade are learning social-awareness, decision making, self-awareness and self-management.

Children may have more frequent changes in mood and may begin to enjoy participating in clubs and team sports and may enjoy sharing secrets with friends. 

These social emotional milestones may look different from child to child, but the general theme is that children start to understand social groups and find their place in those groups. 

Caregivers can support this social growth by talking to your child about their friends and encouraging them to be a good friend. 

Social Goals For 2nd Graders (A Parent’s Guide)

As a general rule, second graders are developing skills in the following areas:


I can recognize when I have accomplished something through hard work

I can name things that are important to me

I can recognize social groups

I can communicate my wants, needs and ideas

Social Awareness and Belonging

I can understand fairness is not the same as equal sharing

I can express gratitude and the reason gratitude is important 

I can name people who are important to me

I can name similarities and differences between myself and my peers

I can respond with kindness when talking to peers

Recognize that others experience the world differently than I do

Decision Making

I can identify social norms

I can follow safety guidelines 

I can judge if a problem is big or small

I can explain why acts that hurt others are wrong

I can identify a range of decisions that can be made by classmates

These general goals are considered normal in second grade, if you are concerned that your child is missing these social milestones talk to your pediatrician

Examples of Social-Emotional Goals for Second Grade

Setting social-emotional goals one way to track your child’s growth as they develop social skills.

You may choose to write some goals more specific to your child. 

Your goals may look something like this:

  • I can follow kitchen safety rules at home
  • I can make a list of my favorite foods
  • I can tell my friends when I do not want to play
  • I can use kind words when I talk to my friends 
  • I can make a goal and celebrate when I accomplish it

Many states have social-emotional learning (SEL) guidelines that are organized by grade level.

This is a great place to start as you make goals with your child.

Find these standards by visiting the Department of Education website for your state. 

How do you set social goals?

You may choose to set goals with your child so that you can practice working on their developing social skills. 

Your second grader is likely very aware of the social goals they hope to accomplish, so be sure to involve them in the goal setting process. 

Choose a Will Do

The goal you choose should clearly state what your child will do. This makes it much easier to celebrate when your child meets their goal. 

A goal with a clear “will do” is: 

Charlotte will wash hands before cooking in the kitchen. 

Don will use kind words when talking to their siblings. 

These goals clearly let the child know exactly how to accomplish their goal. 

Support the Goal

Be sure to brainstorm with your child with ways that they can meet the goal. 

If sibling kindness is a goal, discuss how your child might feel if the sibling is unkind, talk about ways they can remain calm in stressful situations. 

It can be helpful to create a safe space for your child to calm themselves when necessary.

Be sure that the child has some space that is just their own. 

Talk to Teachers 

Reach out to your child’s teacher to discuss the social goals you and your child have set at home. 

Ask the teacher if they are observing the same behavior at school and check in to see if progress at home has carried over at school. 

Check In with the Pediatrician

As you review the social goals listed at the top of the post you may feel that your child is behind their peers.

Talk to your pediatrician about these concerns. 

Your pediatrician is familiar with normal child development and they may have valuable insight and resources for your family.  

Social Goals and IEPs

Social-emotional goals are often part of an Individualized Education Plan or IEP.

These plans are created for a student with an identified disability. 

These goals may be called social emotional goals or SEL goals. 

SEL goals are generally written in a format that allows them to be monitored and documented as your child develops. 

SEL goals may look like:

Fred will use kind words with his peers with 70% accuracy. 

Kev will set goals for their academic progress quarterly. 

Dakota will follow safety procedures at recess with 90% accuracy. 

These goals will be monitored by teachers, case workers, guidance counselors and parents and reviewed each time the team meets to discuss IEP goals. 

How to Support Your Second Grader’s Social Development

The best way to support your child’s social emotional development is to create a safe, open environment at home. 

Talk About Feelings

Be a role model by talking about how situations in your day made you feel. 

When your child is expressing emotions, listen without trying to fix the situation. 

Respect Feelings

Resist the urge to tell your child to, “stop crying” “calm down” or “be quiet.” 

Emotions are natural and part of life, affirm this with your child by allowing them to feel their emotions when they arise. 

You can help a child calm down by drawing their attention to how the emotions feel in their body and name the feelings. 

Read Together

Spend time reading together daily or as often as possible.

Picture books, chapter books, pop up books, non fiction, fiction, they are all wonderful choices. 

Reading boosts literacy and empathy.

Students can see themselves in the characters in the books that they read as well as see into the lives of others. 

Reading together has so many benefits it is a great thing to incorporate into your daily routines. 

Setting Social Goals for Second Grade

Setting goals for your second grader is a great way to monitor their progress as they grow their social skills. 

Be sure to create goals together with your child and reward success when you see it. 

Provide support for your child’s social development by using respectful language at home and by listening when your child wants to share their feelings. 

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social goals for 2nd graders