Do you remember in grade school when it seemed like there were certain kids who just had "it" — this innate ability to socialize with ease? I could never quite figure out how they did it or made it look so effortless, and I'm just as perplexed decades later. But now that I'm a parent, teaching my child how to be friendly and well-adjusted among his peers is even more important. So, if you're anything like me, you turn to the literary gods for guidance. Thankfully, there are plenty of children's books that help your kid learn social skills.
Whether your child relies on you to do the reading or they have a pretty well-established reading nook of their own, there are stories that will speak to kids of all ages and comprehension levels when it comes to understanding how to navigate the tricky world of interacting with others. From the playground to the work force, having a solid set of social skills will come in handy for anyone. So it's not a bad idea to get the ball rolling while they are still young.
If you're interested in this topic or are looking for a few more helpful titles to add to your child's growing literary collection, then check out these kid's books that will help your child learn social skills.
1. 'Thanks For The Feedback, I Think' by Julia Cook
Even adults can identify with the struggles RJ has in Thanks for the Feedback, I Think. When he's not sure how to handle compliments and criticisms, he learns an important lesson on how to handle feedback — both positive and negative — to be the best friend he can be.
2. 'We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices' by Lauren Murphy Payne
A perfect example of a book with conversation starters, real life examples, and interactive stories, We Can Get Along is ideal for younger children who are still learning about self-control and how their actions can affect others. From school room scenarios to home life, this colorful book covers it all.
3. 'Seeing Red: An Anger Management And Anti-Bullying Curriculum For Kids' by Jennifer Simmonds
Aimed primarily at elementary and middle school-aged children, Seeing Red explores the very valid emotion of anger. With discussion topics both on how to handle teasing and what to do when you want to say or do something mean, this book covers all aspects of emotions and bullying. This could come in particularly handy if your child has experienced something like this already and you're looking for a way to start the conversation.
4. 'How To Be A Friend: A Guide To Making Friends And Keeping Them' by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
How To Be A Friend lets children know it's OK to like to be alone sometimes, it's OK to want friends, and it's never OK to bully. Told in super simple terms for young children to comprehend, it also offers real life scenarios and how you should handle them like a good friend should.
5. 'The Way I Feel' by Janan Cain
Told primarily through pictures, even toddlers will benefit from reading The Way I Feel. For young children or kids who have difficulty putting words to their feelings, this book uses expressive illustrations to demonstrate a wide range of emotions and how to talk about them. It will help give them confidence to not let their feelings hold them back from pursuing friendship.
6. 'Personal Space Camp' for Julia Cook
Much to the surprise of young Louis, Personal Space Camp doesn't have anything to do with the moon. Focusing on personal space, content, and bodily autonomy, this book tackles complex issues with ease for children of all ages to understand.
7. 'The Night Before Preschool' by Natasha Wing
In The Night Before Preschool, Billy is full of excitement, curiosity, and a bit of fear as he tries to fall asleep before the big day. Breaking social anxiety down in a way tots can comprehend, this book does a splendid job of preparing kids for the new social environment of preschool.
8. 'The Nice Book' by David Ezra Stein
Whether using a few words or none at all, The Nice Book relies heavily on adorable illustrations which show children all the different ways friends can be nice to each other. From simple good manners to silly situations, this light story is ideal for younger children.
9. 'Richard Scarry's Please And Thank You Book' by Richard Scarry
I don't know about you, but I have such fond memories of reading Richard Scarry books growing up. So I love that I get to keep the tradition going with my son by introducing him to books like Please and Thank You. What makes this book work so well is that it connects with children on such a simple level about big topics like social skills. A lovely read for all ages.
10. 'Should I Share My Ice Cream?' by Mo Willems
Gerald, an elephant, and Piggie, a pig (duh), are best friends. Yet even the closest of chums can run into problems. In Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Gerald has to learn how to share with his friend despite wanting to keep the dessert all to himself. Funny and cute, this story is short and sweet.
11. 'Zach Gets Frustrated' by William Mulcahy
As many kids will probably be able to relate, Zach is not having a very good day. When his friend chooses to go to another kid's birthday party instead of playing with him, Zach Gets Frustrated. Thankfully his parents help him figure out how to identify what is making him upset so that they can discuss the problem and find a solution.
12. 'Making Friends Is An Art!' by Julia Cook
Told from the perspective of a colored pencil names Brown, Making Friends Is An Art! tackles the topic of feeling left out. Brown doesn't understand why no one wants to play with him or how Pink and Dark Green are so well-liked. In the end, he learns that friendship is a two-way street and he needs to make an effort, too.
13. 'Llama Llama Time To Share' by Anna Dewdney
Another classic children's story is Llama Llama Time To Share. This story follows the main character through various social situations which require good social skills, sharing, and empathy. There are a few bumps along the way, but Llama eventually learns that sharing is an essential part of friendship.