Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Editorial Team
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As a teacher or a child caretaker, you are required to teach several skills so that the child is prepared for the world beyond their comfort zones. Social skills are one such skill. It becomes easier to guide when you have access to a lot of learning materials.
Books that can help improve social skills in kids are one of the valuable goldmines of knowledge. These offer engaging solutions to teach several aspects of sociability through pictures, stories, and activities to do. In this post, let’s explore some of the most popular books that can help inculcate essential social skills.
Why is it important for kids to be socially responsive?
Kids, based on contextual factors, have varying needs to develop an awareness of the needs of the self, of the people around them, and of feelings that they experience in different situations to produce appropriate responses. In essence, social competence helps kids in the following ways:
- They learn how to get along with others
- Virtues of self-advocacy and self-assurance are developed that help them express their needs and thoughts convincingly
- They become capable of making friends
- They inculcate humane values like sharing, caring, supporting, and helping
- They demonstrate good behavior examples like saying, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’, etc. It makes them socially amicable.
- They learn to respect people’s personal spaces and never invade them. It helps nurture healthier relationships.
- They display appropriate behavior in happy and sad situations
By developing such skills in kids, we as mentors, do a great service to them. They utilize these skills all through their lives. The research says that kids with LDs need additional effort to build such skills. Their tendency of social withdrawal needs a continual and cumulative nudge to not let it overcome their need to interact, respond, communicate, and self-advocate.
But, how do develop such skills?
Well, the answer lies in providing training and resources. A study emphasizes activities like game hours, organizing competitions, and educational trips to impart social skills. In addition to these, you can become more resourceful by knowing about some social skills books.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best-selling books that can help traverse kids to different aspects of building social skills.
List of books helpful for building social skills in kids
1. Social Skills Activities for Kids
A child needs scaffolding in developing social skills, just like they need guidance in learning math or other subjects. This book follows this principle quite effectively and offers a collection of life lessons and activities. One cannot sit and fill up the kids with a rule book on how to behave in school, among friends, and in public places. The teaching yields sustainable results when they are asked to role-play. With the help of about 50 activities offered in this book, the kids can learn and practice behavioral cues apt for several situations.
By simple actions like talking, listening, and following the social rules as applicable to life situations, kids are given much-needed practice. Interactive activities promote collaborative ways of learning social behavior; also, the discussion on topics like social media, bullying, etc. promoted as activities in this book provide a wholesome coverage of how to build social skills.
2. Henry and the Gym Monster
Henry and the Gym Monster is a storybook that teaches skills like taking responsibility for one’s actions. It also throws light on the issue of bullying. The book is the story of Henry, the boy, who is distracted by a Monster whenever he wants to follow instructions at the gym. He is given contrasting instructions to get confused, but his ability to pick right from wrong allows him to stick to the right activities despite the interference.
Using such a symbolic presentation of life and various challenges, the book teaches how the virtues of correct behavior, adhering to guidelines, and following norms of different places or situations make a person likable, and ultimately, successful in various endeavors.
3. What Should Danny Do? On Vacation (The Power to Choose Series)
What Should Danny Do is a series of books. Several real-life situations like Vacation, School Time, Playtime, etc., and the behaviors appropriate to those are explained in this book series. The ‘On Vacation’ edition is full of illustrations and examples that address pertinent actions a child should take when placed in certain settings.
The book focuses on building virtues like sharing, caring, empathy, taking responsibility, and a lot more. It is the longest book of the series yet engaging enough to help kids learn social skills while having a blast. There are about 9 situations whose endings give a different view of the suitable outlooks the kids ought to have towards people and situations.
4. Oliver West! It’s Time to Get Dressed!
One of the social skills worth teaching kids from an early age is taking responsibility for themselves. The book revolves around the central character Oliver who has a tough time reaching his friends playing outside because – Of his Pajamas! He has to dress up properly to meet friends outside his house and on time.
This trivial hindrance to going and playing outside is a pretext to teach the importance of dressing appropriately according to the place and time. The next challenge is to find the other things that go with his dress, such as shoes, etc. With gentle nudges and lots of appreciation, his mother succeeds in teaching him the skill of management of time and things. How to take care of the self and the importance of self-care are some of the skills children may learn in a relatable manner from this book.
5. Everyone Feels Sad Sometimes
Dr. Daniela Owen, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology at UC Berkeley, has written this book. It is a beautiful work aimed at normalizing the feeling of sadness. No one wants kids to be sad and almost the whole family starts coming up with over-the-top tricks if a kid at home is sad. This overtly protective approach puts children suffering whenever they encounter feelings of sadness.
The book shows the importance of normalizing sadness and also throws light on the cruciality of keeping a positive attitude. One of the most important social skill is to control behavior and responses and not allows feelings to take over us completely. This book focuses on ways to have positive triggers and teaches how to attract positive vibes from others even when feeling low.
6. Permission to Feel
The author of the book, Marc Brackett, pours his experience earned from working as the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. He has designed a program called RULER that aims at building emotional resilience in kids and adults. This book talks about the fact that the power to change lies within us. He explains some useful tricks and ways to be aware of emotions and make them the tools for success.
Social skills emanate from our capacity to identify emotions and use them positively instead of giving in to them. This book guides parents and teachers on how to apply RULER to transform personalities and develop positive interactions.
7. That Rule Doesn’t Apply to Me!
One of the essential social skills is to understand responsibility and behave responsibly. There are certain rules for living in every space and the function of those rules is to maintain order and harmony in the place. ‘That Rule Doesn’t Apply to Me!’ is the third book of the ‘Responsible Me!’ series written by the author Julia Cook.
Woven into the story of a boy nicknamed Noodle, this book highlights the chaos that can occur when rules are not followed. There are various tips for parents and teachers provided in the books to turn the despisal of kids towards rules into acceptance.
8. How To Accept No: Children’s book about emotions & feelings
Coping with emotions and feelings is an important skill. When kids are told ‘No’ to something, they tend to throw tantrums. It rubs people around the wrong way. The motive of this book is to teach kids to take refusals positively. By learning to cope with issues like anger, the fragility of ego, and controlling emotions, the kids can develop socially relevant skills. Their positive approach and happy being can become a source of inspiration to others. How to achieve it – is demonstrated beautifully in this preschoolers’ book on social skills.
9. A Friend Is Someone Who
Friendship is the noblest relation that binds people through emotions. The kids feel attracted to peers who they spend time with and get along well. This ability to connect varies among kids. This book on social skills covers the idea of how to make and grow friendships by showing kindness, and compassion, and being receptive to vulnerability serves as a systematic guide.
The author, through illustrations and texts, elaborates the idea of friendship in an easily palatable and comprehensible manner. Kids can identify with the situations mentioned in the book effortlessly and can confirm in their minds the role friendship plays in their lives.
10. The Self-Confidence Building Book For Kids
Self-confidence is needed to present yourself with conviction. It is an important skill from where emerge the virtues of self-advocacy, assurance, and thought of being comfortable with the self. The Self Confidence Building Book for Kids takes the readers through myriad tips, tricks, and real-life cases to understand the importance and the impact of being a self-confident person. This book helps develop social skills of being helpful and reliable with the help of easy prompts that parents can use to train kids.
Social skills are needed to develop a strong public presence. Not all kids are outgoing or are a product of a safe, secure environment. Their training needs to become sociable differ. That is why adding social skill development activities to the curriculum is a preferred approach in schools. Taking the help of books can allow educators to be vivid in their ways of building these skills.
Also, the kids can be encouraged to self-learn social skills by doing activities or following prompts provided in the books. Share your thoughts on how social skills books gave you a reliable resource to help your child come out of the cocoon and be appropriately attentive and responsive to people and situations.
- Mari-Anne Sørlie, Kristine Amlund Hagen & Kristin Berg Nordahl (2021) Development of social skills during middle childhood: Growth trajectories and school-related predictors, International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 9:sup1, S69-S87, DOI: 10.1080/21683603.2020.1744492
- Maleki, M., Mardani, A., Chehrzad, M. M., Dianatinasab, M., & Vaismoradi, M. (2019). Social Skills in Children at Home and in Preschool. Behavioral Sciences, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9070074
- Caballo, Vicente & Carrillo, Gloria & Ollendick, Thomas. (2015). Effectiveness of a social skills play-based training program intervention for childhood social anxiety. Behavioral Psychology/Psicologia Conductual. 23. 403-427.
I am Pratiksha Bhatt, Bachelor of Life Science, and Masters in Management Studies. I have done certification courses in early education counseling. I am a writer, a mother of a child with spelling difficulties which drove me to alternative resources of education like manipulatives and participatory activities. My areas of expertise are learning difficulties, alternative learning methods, and activity-based learning.