How to Help Your Kid With Social Skills

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Children with good social skills usually develop strong relationships with peers. When you build solid social skills in your kids, they will most likely be well-behaved, as well as growing into mature young people.

What to Know About Teaching Social Skills

It’s important. Friendships and social interactions are crucial factors that build your child's self-esteem. Make sure you break concepts into small bits when teaching social skills. Award your child for every achievement they make.

It’s a long process. As your kid gets older, social skills need constant refinement. They don’t often come naturally and may need a slow approach. Practice patience when helping your child learn things in life.

It’s not always easy. Instilling values and skills in a child can be challenging. Your child may be at a stage in life where they distance themselves socially. But when they’re comfortable at home, you can teach interpersonal skills. In the end, you will have helped them move closer to physical or virtual interaction.

Not all children are the same. When your child has trouble with social skills, it shows up in different ways, depending on their age. Your child may:

  • Talk a lot
  • Be a poor listener
  • Share information that they shouldn’t
  • Withdraw when communicating with friends
  • Fail to wait for their time to speak

These challenges may have negative effects on your kid's life. They can find it tough to interact with friends. Relating with teachers, community, and family members could also be difficult.

It’s all about timing. Identify teachable moments that will help your child improve. Research shows that some social skills don’t come easy. For instance, it may take lots of patience to teach your kid that it can be necessary to be confident in the face of bullying or remain silent during a disagreement.

Benefits of Teaching Social Skills

Children with good social skills have a better chance of success in life. Good social skills help your child have an easier time navigating their career and growing as an adult.

Social skills are linked to job success, emotional well-being, and independence. If you teach your child social skills, they will have better emotional capability. Your child will begin taking up adaptive social skills, which will make it easier to solve problems, analyze results, and respond to social situations the way they should.

Kids with strong social skills get along with peers and make friends easily. Your child needs healthy friendships to have a fulfilling life. They’ll also be able to keep good mental health, as they’ll always have a support system when you’re not around.

How Children Learn Social Skills

Show your child how to help others. You can use a simple example like helping them put away their toys. In the process, they may come to understand the need to help others.

Spend quality time with your child. Always make sure that when you’re with your child, you are interacting with them by asking and answering a lot of questions. Spend plenty of time playing with your child, as this will improve their way of interacting with peers.

Explain the difference between behavior and feelings. Use certain life situations to explain the differences. For example, talk to your kid about why they shouldn’t throw their toys when they’re frustrated. This process will help your child understand what acceptable behavior looks like.

Teach willingness to share a snack or a toy. Studies show that small kids express a desire to share with others. This will help make and keep friends.

Train your kids on how to solve problems. Conflicts are bound to happen when children play together. If your child has good social skills, they’ll handle such problems peacefully. Teach them how to negotiate terms with friends and reach a solution that works for everyone, even when they disagree.

Tell them how you made decisions when you were a child. Tell your child what motivated your actions. In addition, explain to your child how you respected other people’s opinions. They’ll practice by following your example.

Invite friends to your house to spend time with your kid. Ask people you know to visit when your child is there to help them develop social interaction skills.

If your child is struggling to learn social skills, talk to your pediatrician. It may be a sign of other challenges, like mental illness. A doctor can learn more about your child and offer you advice on next steps.

Show Sources


Beyond Blue: “Developing social skills.”

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE: “Teaching Social Skills at Home.”

Friendship Circle: “13 Ways To Enhance Your Child’s Social Skills And Make Friends.”


Understood: “Understanding your child’s trouble with social skills.”

verywell family: “7 Most Important Social Skills for Kids.”

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