5 apps to promote social skills

Top 5 Apps to Promote Social Skills

If you want to turn screen time into a productive opportunity to promote skills, there are apps that can double as fun and educational. Not only can your child independently engage in these games, the content can allow for parent-child interactions to strengthen the child’s comprehension of the material and help them translate these principals into real-life practice.

Top 5 Apps to Promote Social Skills:5 apps to promote social skills

  1. Model Me Kids: This app provides a variety of social stories to help prepare children for what behaviors are expected based on setting. If your child struggles with transitions or how to modify behaviors based on the social context, this app is a great tool to walk your child through ways they can communicate their needs, anticipate outcomes, and reduce anxiety about the unknown. The parent can sit down with their child, review the social stories, and process how their particular visit to the hairdresser, mall, or playground can go based on real-life expectations and what the child can say or do in their own specific experience.
  2. Social Skills Play: This app allows the child to view and/or participate in dialogue about how to effectively interact with peers. Various play-based scenarios are presented and the child can determine if the interaction between characters are positive or negative. If the communication was negative (i.e. the character was inflexible or insensitive), the parent can process with the child what a better choice could have been that that the character could have initiated. This intervention targets social-communication and helps children determine positive and negative choices when asserting their thoughts and needs.
  3. What Would You Do at School If… Fun Deck: This app presents various school-based scenarios and allows your child to practice effective problem-solving skills to negotiate frustrating or non-preferred situations while at school. This concept calls attention to the fact that the strategies a child might use to resolve a problem in the context of their home environment may be different than what they can do at school (i.e. the child might be able to do more negotiation in a more flexible structure, whereas their ability to solve problems in a fixed structure like school may look different). Here, the parent can also collaborate with child to come up with more than one solution to a perceived problem so that the child has multiple tools to prevent conflict and negative feedback.
  4. Choiceworks: This app provides a visual schedule inclusive of a timer and choices to help the child manage routine and communicate thoughts and feelings appropriately. The parent can sit down with the child and add various tasks to the schedule, set a designated time for task completion, and the child can identify positive coping strategies to help them get through non-preferred tasks or demands. Instead of crying or refusing to engage in task, the child can identify alternative coping strategies to regulate mood and enhance behavioral compliance.
  5. Zones of Regulation: This app allows the child to enhance mood and behavior regulation through a color-coding system. The various colors represent different levels of emotion and the child can gain recognition of triggers and associated physiological responses to anger. The child can then learn to appropriately evaluate the size and severity of problems and identify calming, self-soothing strategies to reduce upset emotion. The parents can then assist their child to develop problem-solving strategies to resolve the presented issue. Additionally, the parent can help enhance the child’s social thinking skills by asking the child how they think other people would respond to their negative reactions and how this could impact their future social interactions. Developing positive choices when feeling upset can also lead to the enhancement of pro-social decisions.

Click here for our occupational therapist’s choice of the top 5 apps for handwriting!

NSPT offers mental health services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

ADHD and Social Skills

Social Skills And ADHD

Many children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) exhibit significant concerns with regard to their social and emotional functioning.  Research has indicated that there is a high correlation between children who have ADHD and their social skills.  What is important to understand is that many of these children do not have specific social deficits (such as those often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder); however, the issues with impulsivity and attention to detail impact the social success of the child.

Social Concerns for Kids with ADHDADHD and social skills

Children with impulse control issues and inattention are often at risk for social concerns because of the impact that these issues have on the child’s socialization.  Oftentimes the children have difficulty ‘putting the brakes on’ when playing with peers and struggle with regulating behavior.  The other children might become upset and shy away in future social events.  These children are also at risk for missing social cues when engaging peers which might lead to rejection or neglect in future interactions.

Strategies to Build Social Skills in Kids with ADHD

It is important to provide strategies and support to improve the socialization of children who have ADHD.  These children often need extra support in non-structured situations such as the playground, recess, gym time.  Parents and teachers should work closely with the children to ensure that they are able to provide extra guidance during these activities.  Provide the child with immediate feedback about how his or her behavior is impacting the social environment as well as how to better handle the situation in the future.

Oftentimes with ADHD we are worried about a child’s academic performance; however, we must also be concerned and intervene for his or her socialization and emotional functioning.

Click here to read more about how ADHD affects your child’s social skills and friendships.

ADHD Resource Center
NSPT offers Behavior Therapy in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood (coming soon), Glenview and the Neuropsychology Diagnostic and Testing Center in Des Plaines. If you have questions, or concerns, about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

social IQ

Tips to Raise Your Child’s Social IQ



Social IQ is a concept developed around the idea of social skills and how well-developed they are in social settings. So much awareness is involved in developing social skills: Tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and personal space (just to name a few). It is amazing we learn most of them through observation alone! Where is the class that teaches us how to share, compliment, join a group, manage conflict, and express and understand feelings!?
For some kids, social skills develop naturally and without much emphasis, but for others, these can be daunting skills to tackle. With the new school year upon us, the classroom is a breeding ground for social mishaps and social victories.

If you notice your child struggles in social situations, here are some things you can do to help raise his Social IQ:

  • Get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses: Is he flexible with his friends or does he tend to be a bit bossy?
  • Discuss with them the importance of friendships and what he thinks it means to be a ‘good friend’.
  • Set realistic social goals with your child (i.e. Lilly will congratulate two classmates if they win in a game or Johnny will introduce himself to a new classmate and ask to join in on an activity at recess.).
  • Involve teachers and counselors to help reinforce and observe goals.
  • Help your child talk about and identify feelings, facial expressions, and gestures.
  • Practice conflict management: develop a plan that’s easy to remember in ‘heated’ moments.
  • Take a deep breath, count to 3, and use “ I feel ______ when _________”.
  • Practice skills at home (i.e. sharing, complimenting, asking questions, waiting her turn to talk) and be a good role model!
  • Join a social skills group.
  • Social skills go far beyond the examples mentioned here, so this can be a great opportunity to not only learn new skills, but practice them with their peers in a structured setting.

Click here for a list of apps to help teach social skills.