In order for kids to make connections and make friends, kids need to have good internal self-regulation and coping skills. If kids aren’t able to regulate their emotions, other kids will steer clear of them and not want to hang out. Kids need to be able to manage their big feelings in expected ways, otherwise it will turn others off. Kids also need to have skills that help them interact positively with others and have conversations. These are the skills that children need to be good friend material and encourage others to have good, positive thoughts about them. Some examples include understanding personal space, figuring out how conversations work, how to make small talk, or how to smoothly enter and exit a conversation.
Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking program is a great foundation for working on these types of skills. You need to work on these skills with other people, they can’t be taught in isolation. Real world experiences are the best place for kids to learn these. Below are some of our resources for helping teach social to kids, at home or at school.
This is one of my current Pinterest Boards, Social Skills. This board has ideas for improving and practicing social skills.