Teaching Your Child How to Shake Hands

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When is the right time to teach your kids to shake hands? Think about the last time you met someone new. A proper handshake was probably the first gesture that kicked off the interaction. Simple as it may look, mastering the art of the handshake can boost your kid’s social confidence. This blog is your one-stop shop for teaching your kids how to shake hands, a skill that never goes out of style. We’ve got everything covered, from approaching the person to uttering pleasantries. Trust us, after reading this, you’ll want to high-five yourself. Remember to share our Goal Mine class video with your kids. It’s designed to help them get a grip on this skill, quite literally!

Step NumberStep TitleKey Points
1Approaching the PersonWalk towards the person with your right hand free, make eye contact and smile
2Extending Your HandReach out your right hand towards the other person’s right hand, keep your palm facing down
3Grasping the Other Person’s HandWrap your fingers around the other person’s hand, apply gentle pressure
4Shaking Hands and Exchanging Pleasantries (Optional)Move your arm up and down, release the other person’s hand, say something like “Nice to meet you” or “How are you doing?”

Step 1: Approaching the Person

Walk Towards the Person with Your Right Hand Free

  • Teach your kids to approach someone with their right hand free. You don’t want them awkwardly juggling a toy or a snack when it’s time for a handshake.
  • Make it a game; pretend the right hand is a superhero on a mission.

Make Eye Contact and Smile

  • Eye contact is more than just polite; it establishes a connection. Let your kids practice by looking into your eyes as they walk closer.
  • The smile? Well, that’s the cherry on top. It lightens the mood and sets the stage for a friendly exchange.
How to shake hands. A young boy wearing a Germany football shirt extends his hand, makes eye contact, and smiles.
Read more: How to Improve Social Skills in Kids

Step 2: Extending Your Hand

Reach Out Your Right Hand Towards the Other Person’s Right Hand

  • Now, it’s time for action. Guide your kids to stretch their right hand toward the other person’s hand, palm facing down. Make sure they understand this isn’t a high-five moment.
  • Above all, it’s a prelude to something more formal.

Keep Your Palm Facing Down

  • The palm should be facing downward. This might sound trivial, but it sets the handshake up for success.
  • Keep the hand level. No one wants to play thumb wars during an introduction!

Pro tip— Goally’s Dedicated Tablet has one of the largest libraries of social skill-building videos (like “How to Share” and “How to Interrupt Politely”) on Goally’s TV App.👇

Step 3: Grasping the Other Person’s Hand

Wrap Your Fingers Around the Other Person’s Hand

  • Here comes the gripping part! Coach your kids to wrap their fingers securely around the other person’s hand.
  • No “dead fish” handshakes allowed! Teach them to apply a gentle yet firm grip.

Apply Gentle Pressure

  • This isn’t a test of strength; it’s about making a good impression. Teach your children to apply the right amount of pressure—think of holding a ripe banana.
  • Too hard, and you’ll squish it; too loose, and it might slip away.
How to shake hands: Two people shake hands.

Step 4: Shaking Hands and Exchanging Pleasantries (Optional)

Move Your Arm Up and Down

  • In other words, let the shaking commence! A couple of up-and-down movements should suffice.
  • Remind your kids to keep their eyes peeled and smiles intact during this phase.

Release the Other Person’s Hand and Exchange Pleasantries

Lastly, after the shake, it’s time to let go. That’s when a “Nice to meet you!” can seal the deal.

Goally | Learning Videos for Kids

Does your child need some extra guidance on building social skills? Goally’s skill building tablet for kids includes a TV app that has the most robust video library of skills training videos for kids. Ranging from content like “What to Do When You’re Lost” to “How to Make Friends at School,” we have dozens of interactive video lessons for kids. Goal Mine is an awesome way to help kids model social behaviors to set them up for success!

Dive into the Goal Mine channel, where Puffy the Penguin leads your child through behavior skills training videos. They’ll learn social, hygiene, and living skills that are key to their independence. For those moments when they need a break, the Chill Zone channel offers low stimulation video content with Paulie the Penguin at the beach, perfect for relaxation and self-regulation.

Try Goally as an app on any device you have at home for just $15. We also have a dedicated tablet (which ONLY has Goally on it) for $149.

Take the Learning Further

If you found this guide helpful, wait till you get your hands on Goally’s dedicated Tablet. You’ll unlock the rest of our video lessons that provide an in-depth tutorial on how to shake hands. The embedded YouTube video here only gives you a taste, covering step #1. Go on, take your child’s social skills to the next level!

Handshakes might seem minor, but they’re the opening act of your kid’s social play. Perfecting this gesture can set the stage for more meaningful interactions. In short, shake it till you make it!

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