How Do I Teach My Toddler Better Social Skills?

My toddler has trouble getting along with other kids on the playground. Is there something I can do to help her learn better social skills?
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Updated September 15, 2020
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Any display of emotions, such as crying or fighting, can be a good opportunity to teach your toddler how to use words to express how she’s feeling: “Are you feeling frustrated because you’re excited to use the slide and there’s a long line?” Walk her through what she’s feeling and why so that, eventually, she’ll have an easier time reacting verbally.

And that works both ways: When her playmates are struggling, tell your child the emotions her playmate might be feeling and why — especially if that child is upset as a consequence of your daughter’s actions: “When you push Aiden, he feels sad.” This teaches empathy.

Also keep in mind that sharing is a concept that doesn’t come easily to toddlers; it can be too complex for them to understand. So don’t be concerned when she takes her friend’s toy and announces that it belongs to her. “Taking turns” can be a better way to phrase the idea — but being patient and staying calm is also key.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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