The Importance of Social Skills


Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Social skills is a common concern among parents. Often children can have difficulties in making and keeping friends. They may be left out of games at lunch, not get invited to other children’s houses or may even be teased by some children.

In addition to our Social Skills workshop – The Best of Friends – we have prepared the factsheet below to provide more information to parents about social skill sin children.

An important aspect of maintaining friendships is social skills.

Social skills are specific behaviours such as smiling, making eye contact, asking and responding to questions, and giving and acknowledging compliments during a social exchange. These behaviours result in positive social interactions and have been linked to positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance.

How can I tell if my child is having difficulties with social skills?

  • Little use of eye contact,
  • Uninterested in social interactions,
  • Difficulties initiating social interactions,
  • Difficulties interpreting verbal and non-verbal social cues,
  • Inappropriate emotional response,
  • Lack of empathy towards others.

It can be upsetting for parents to realise that their children are having difficulties making friends. Research has shown however, that social skills can be effectively taught to children.

How to encourage your child to develop social skills

  • Help your child make friends by organising play dates, having sleepover and joining clubs.
  • Offer suggestions on ways to handle situations at school and with friends.
  • Children learn a lot by observing how adults interact so it is important to always model appropriate behaviour, such as greeting shop assistants and using Peoples names when possible.
  • Help your child to understand different points of view by describing feelings and having conversations about how other people might feel. This can help your child to develop empathy and will help them deal with conflict when it occurs.
  • Help develop conversation skills such as asking questions and listening to others
  • Discuss behaviours such as teasing and bullying with your child, to help them understand that some comments could upset others.

How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?

The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. Additionally, we offer a variety of resources, workshops and individualized consultations to support children experiencing difficulties with social skills.

  • The Best of Friends Workshop TM is an innovative social skills and communication program for children aged 3 to 13. This activity-based workshop encourages children to make the most of their friendships by developing good communication skills. Workshops are available throughout t the year both in school and clinic setting.
  • How to be a Friend Book – This book published by Quirky Kid helps children to understand how friendships are formed and the best way to handle conflict. It is a must for all children and proactive parents.
  • Face it Cards are a set of 35 hand-draw facial expression cards. The cards give greater meaning to discussions involving feelings and behaviors. They can help families resolve conflict and classmates explore social scenarios or ethical dilemmas and also allow children to ‘pointing out’ their emotions, helping then to increase understanding, problem-solving and empathy when dialogue is difficult.
  • Tell Me a Story Cards are a useful tool for parents and professionals working with young people. They invite children to recall and retell their own memorable moments of extremity, this facilitates communication, highlights strengths, and boosts self-esteem.

Please contact the Quirky Kid Clinic on 9362 9297 for further information. You can also discuss Social Skills with other parents at the Quirky Kid Hudle – our parenting forums.

Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien,  the Raising Children Network website, and the following articles and was compiled by Corina Vogler, Interm-Psychologist at the Quirky Kid Clinic


Reference: Tse, J., Strulovitch, J., Tagalakis, V., Meng, L., & Fombonne, E. (2007). Social skills training for adolescents with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1960-1968.

Rao, P., Beidel, D., & Murray, M. (2008). Social skills training for children with Aspergers’s syndrome or high-functioning autism: a review and recommendations. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 353-361.



12 Responses to “The Importance of Social Skills”

April 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm, CHRISTINE EVANS said:

Hi my daughter is 17 and having great dificulty making and keeping friends . It is frustating her very much and is very distressing ..I try to help . She needs more .Do you run a group for children her age.


April 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm, Leonardo Rocker said:

Dear Christine, Thank you for visiting the Quirky Kid Clinic website. Our reception has emailed you to discuss your concerns further. There are a lot that can be done to support your daughter in developing social skills but it is important to understand what is happening from her perspective as well. We would often recommend mentoring and one-on-one intervention when they are aged 17 as this may provide a more appropriate setting to start the conversation.

Please check your email and we look forward to hearing from you.


October 02, 2012 at 2:12 pm, Michaela Twelve said:

Hi. My 6 year old sometimes tell me “other children get mad at me at school and I don’t know why” which makes me think we may have a weak social skills issue here. What resources would you recommend for me. Many thanks.


October 03, 2012 at 9:13 pm, Leonardo Rocker said:

Hello Michaela! Thank you for your comment. There are lots of resources we can recommend to assist on Social Skills for Children and I will send you an email with more ideas. A basic and effective is a book published by Quirky Kid called, How to be a Friend. The selection on Social Skills at the Quirky Kid Shoppe also displays great ideas directly related to social skills but also in regards to the other emotions and feelings arising from it. Lastly, if you are around Sydney, enrolling to our Social Skills workshops is also a great idea. More to your email tomorrow!


January 06, 2014 at 3:20 pm, Amanda Kaljee said:

Good day
My son is 15 and has aspergus and ADHD. He is a keen cricket player, however, at the moment is becoming rather negative and uninterested with things. He really battles to make and keep friends and will not even attempt to social with other students. He continually looks for the reasons why things can not happen and becomes increasingly frustrated. He also tends to hold grudges for ages and always things people are out to get him. Do you run a course that will assist him with his social skills, confidence and building self esteem


January 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm, Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff) said:

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for your comment. One of our customer support staff will contact you via email. We do offer a range of social skill workshops and interventions that can assist your son. A Quirky Kid child psychologists would be able to develop the most suitable case plan for you. Watch out for our email and contact.


April 14, 2014 at 7:58 am, Helen Wood said:

My son is 13 (in year 8) and has Aspergers. Are there any social skills workshops / training for young adolescents?


April 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm, Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff) said:

Dear Helen, yes, The Best of Friends can assist in improving social skills for young adolescents. Often the program is tailored for each individual child with session taking place in the clinic and school settings. Please contact us for more information.


July 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm, rosie said:

I am after a social skills program for my 14 yr son.

thanks rosie


November 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm, michelle said:

I am after a social group desperately for my 8 year old daughter. everyone is judging her. She gets teased, picked on, now no one wants her at her school. Her self esteem has gone. its a big impact on her. she needs friends its important. it really hurts. please help.


December 08, 2014 at 12:21 pm, Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff) said:

Dear Michele, thank you for comment and we are sorry to hear about your daughter. Please contact os on 02 9362 9297 so we can discuss this further and make some suggestions for you.


December 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm, Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff) said:

Thank you for posting and for sharing about your daughter social difficulties. Please contact us on 02 9362 9297 so we can understand more about your circumstances and make some recommendations.


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