Social skills acquired during early childhood are often the foundation for success later in life. Using a nationwide survey dataset in Japan, this study aims to explore the multiple growth trajectories of social skills among children in kindergarten by using a latent class growth modeling approach. It also examines whether, and to what extent, the home-rearing environment at early age predict trajectories of social skills development. Children in this study were assessed on social skills at three waves, four home-rearing environment dimensions (human stimulation, social stimulation, avoidance of punishment, and social support for parenting) and demographic background were measured at wave 1. The results indicated that three distinct growth trajectories of social skills existed during kindergarten: high increase levels, moderate increase levels, and decreased levels. The avoidance of punishment and children’s gender significantly predicted the growth trajectories of social skills. Thus, the results suggest that more attention should be paid to the home-rearing environment and boys.
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