Social Goals For 5th Graders (A Parent’s Guide)

Students in fifth grade are starting to understand the larger world around them.

They may become interested in social issues, global cultures and personal identity.

Fifth graders are growing in the areas of self-awareness and management, social-awareness and belonging and decision making. 

With a growing interest in the world, fifth grade students may express interest in cultures. They may have questions about their own ethnicity. 

They will continue to develop close friendships that are distinct from casual friendships.

They may also experience higher levels of stress. 

Social Goals For 5th Graders

Fifth grade students are developing social skills that are important as they join larger social groups in middle and high school. 

Managing conflict in friendships and managing emotions becomes more important as the academic work becomes more demanding. 

Self-Awareness and Management 

I can identify my complex emotions and describe how they feel in my body. 

I can explain how events affect my emotions.

I can choose activities based on my values. 

I can identify when stress levels become unhealthy.  

Social Awareness and Belonging

I can find ways to interact positively with people who are different from me. 

I can work in groups as a participating member. 

I can set academic goals and see the value in achieving them. 

I can identify ways to be helpful to my family and community.

Decision Making

I can set goals and outline steps to meeting the goal. 

I can monitor my progress towards a goal.

I can find alternative solutions to problems and evaluate their consequences. 

I can use positive communication skills and describe their benefits. 

I can understand how positive and negative peer pressure affects my decision making. 

Examples of Social-Emotional Goals for Fifth Grade

Setting social-emotional goals can foster conversation between children and parents. 

Fifth grade can be a very stressful year for students as the academic load becomes heavier and the transition to middle school is looming. 

Setting goals can help you and your child focus on factors that are in your control and make positive growth to combat stress and negative emotions. 

This is a great time to gain new communication skills to help maintain healthy relationships. 

  • I can monitor my stress level and use stress relief techniques. 
  • I can communicate with respect even when I disagree. 
  • I can set academic goals and achieve them

Many states have social-emotional learning (SEL) guidelines to help students and parents monitor and navigate changing social and emotional needs. 

You can find these standards by reaching out to your child’s guidance counselor or pediatrician.

They can provide resources to help with goal setting. 

How do you set social goals?

Fifth grade students are aware of who their friends are and how they fit into the social structure at school.

They may have ideas about how they would like to grow and change as a student and as a person. 

Encourage your child to set goals for themselves together with you. 

Communicate with Respect

Ask your child what social or emotional goals they have for themselves and listen without commenting. 

Ask questions to clarify, but let them lead the conversation. 

Start to document the ideas in writing so you can clarify the goal. 

Choose a Goal or Focus

When you have brainstormed a list of things you would like to work on, narrow in on one skill you would like to focus on and write a single goal. 

Write a goal that focuses on what the child will do. 

I will use my noise canceling headphones at lunch so I do not get anxious. 

I will video chat with my friend who moved away. 

I will send an email to the teacher when I am overwhelmed with my work. 

Plan Actions

Now that you have an action focused goal, plan when these actions will be taken. 

Check in often to see if your child is using the strategies you chose to manage their emotions or build a social skill.

Celebrate Success

When your child makes a step towards their goal, mark their success in some way.

An ice cream date, a later bedtime or a high five are all great options to celebrate this success. 

Social Goals and IEPs

Many students with Individualized Education Plans or IEPs include social-emotional goals in the IEP. 

These goals allow the IEP team to monitor and support the student in their social emotional development.

These goals are set by the IEP team which usually includes:

Guidance counselors

Classroom teachers


School administration 

Special Education Teachers or Case Workers

These goals are written in a very specific way so that they can be monitored and evaluated by the IEP team each time they meet. 

An IEP SEL goal may look like:

El will set goals each week for academic success. 

Alma will ask to go to the reset room when they are experiencing growing anxiety with 80% accuracy. 

Phil will request peer mediation when he is experiencing conflict with 70% accuracy. 

These goals should be evaluated and adjusted to meet the growing social skills of your child. You may choose to consult a pediatrician if you have developmental concerns about your child. 

How to Support Your Fifth Grader’s Social Development

You can support your fifth grader’s social emotional growth by making your home a safe place to express positive and negative emotions. 

Model this behavior by speaking about your emotions without shame or apology.

Emotions are natural and normal and should not be punished or ignored. 

Always respect the emotions of your child even if they do not make sense to you. 

Reading can be a great way to grow empathy in yourself and your child.

Spend time reading together each day or as often as possible. 

Discuss how the characters may feel and how they may choose to address problems they are facing. 

Setting Social Goals for Fifth Grade

Fifth grade is a very intense year for many children and they may be experiencing more stress than in previous years. 

Keep communication open by discussing friends, relationships, peer pressure and stress management. 

Setting goals to strengthen skills related to self-management and social awareness is a great way to keep these conversations going throughout the year.

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Social Goals For 5th Graders