Holiday Tips to Help Kids with Social Skills

My name is Jennifer Bishop. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Boca Raton. I offer services both in the office and virtually through phone or Skype. As a Mental Health Counselor, I specialize in working with children ages 3 to 16 and with Adults on wellness and healing in live their life’s purpose.


Holiday events are supposed to be fun. But for kids with social skills issues, these events can pose challenges and create stress for the entire family. Use these five simple tips to help your child successfully navigate this very social season.

Five Tips

  1. Practice Hellos and Goodbyes – The more you practice with your child, the easier it will be for him to call up the right words when he needs them. He doesn’t have to say much: “Hi, it’s nice to see you!” and “Thanks for having me—I had a good time” will usually do it. Remind him to look people in the eye, and that when people extend their arm it means they want to shake hands.
  2. Tell Your Child What To Expect – Let your child know how the day will unfold. (If you’re not sure, ask your hosts in advance.) You might say something like, “When we get there, the kids will be watching football or playing downstairs. After an hour, we’ll have dinner. The kids will sit at their own table. Then it’s dessert, and then we’ll go home.” Your child may feel more relaxed if he knows what’s going to happen next. You can also ways to handle certain situations with Christmas Tree Game (see below)
  3. Help Your Child Join a Group – Before you head off to mingle with the adults, help your child get settled. If the kids are playing football—and your child doesn’t enjoy that game—ask if they need a scorekeeper. Or if it’s a game he does like, help him to break in by saying something like, “John would love to play too. Do you have room for another player?”
  4. Script Conversation Starters – Help your child develop some general questions to break the ice with other kids. He might ask, “Do you play any sports?” or “What shows do you like to watch?”
  5. Role-Play Opening Presents– If there’s going to be a gift exchange, have your child practice opening presents and saying thank you. Rehearse the possible scenarios in the Christmas Tree Game below.


Don’t forget to give your child lots of positive feedback and praise for managing the situations like you practiced. It is important that they know you noticed.  Recognition can mean a lot and can give your child more confidence going into the next holiday event.


Want something fun to do with your child to help them feel more confident and prepared for the holidays – email me for my FREE printable Christmas Tree Game where I have created Social Scenarios you can practice with your children at home!


Please call or email for additional tips to support you and your child during what can be a stressful event and time at or 561-408-1098.

For more tools and information, visit my website at