Using Children’s Busy Books to Develop Social Skills & Manners

Using Childrens Busy Books to Develop Social Skills Manners

Social skills and manners are essential for children’s healthy development and future success. They help children form positive relationships, communicate effectively, and navigate social situations. However, developing social skills and manners can be challenging for some children. This is where Busy Books come in.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of using Busy Books to teach social skills and manners, and provide tips on how parents and teachers can use them to reinforce social skills and manners at home and in the classroom.

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The Importance of Social Skills in Children (And As Adults)

Social skills are essential for building healthy relationships and effectively communicating in all areas of life. These skills are more than just niceties; they are behaviours and other forms of communication necessary to effectively create and maintain personal, professional and casual relationships. They may include things like initiating conversations, making friends, having good sportsmanship and handling bullying effectively.

Research shows children with well-developed social skills are more likely to have positive self-esteem, show empathy towards others and develop emotional resilience. Social skills have also been linked to job success, independent and emotional well-being. 

It’s never too early to start developing social skills in children. Early childhood education is a critical time for fostering social skills in kids, and parents, teachers and mental health professionals can all play a role in helping children develop social skills.

Examples of Social Skills

Some examples of social skills children can develop include:

  • Two-way communication.
  • Active listening.
  • Sharing and taking turns.
  • Empathy and understanding emotions.
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution.
  • Cooperation.
  • Good sportsmanship.
  • Using manners and playing fair.
  • Starting a conversation and making introductions.
  • Respecting personal space.
  • Following directions.
  • Waiting patiently.
  • Handling bullying effectively.

And more. 

How Busy Books Can Help Children Develop Social Skills & Manners

Through interactive play.

Children’s Busy Books often include interactive play elements, such as buttons, flaps and puzzles. These elements encourage kids to interact with the book and play along with the story. Through this interactive play, children learn about sharing, being gentle, taking turns and cooperation, all important social skills.

“Busy Books can be read and played with both solo and with multiple kids. If your child has read through a book once, it can still provide a different learning experience to read through again with a friend or sibling.” 

For example, if they are sharing the book with another child, you may prompt them to take turns with their friend or sibling so they can both experience some fun playing with the different elements. You may notice they start to offer the book to the other child first, or encourage the other child to also play with the element too. 

At Busy Books Australia, we have designed our activity books to encourage sharing and exploration in a fun and safe environment. It gives kids the opportunity to discover and develop new skills, while keeping their attention active.

By promoting emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognise, understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Children with higher emotional intelligence tend to be more efficient in paying attention, having more positive relationships and are more engaged in school. They develop different elements of emotional intelligence throughout their childhood, up into their teens. It’s been shown that even babies as young as 18 months can recognise and respond to emotions.

Busy Books are designed to help children develop emotional intelligence and other social skills from a young age. Every book exposes kids to a different range of age-appropriate emotions, words and activities, helping them to navigate these different skills and level up as they progress through the books. Parents can even help with their child’s emotional intelligence development by helping their child recognise and regulate when they may feel frustrated with a particular activity. As kids develop these social skills, they begin to be more aware of themselves and others, helping them in more situations.

Giving opportunities for social interactions.

Busy Books can be read and completed both alone and with others. In both situations, the books can present different opportunities for social interaction.

For example, if you are supervising your child completing a Busy Book, you can monitor how they respond to any activities that are new or hard for them. Do they quickly give up? Are they comfortable asking for help? Is their first response to be mad? Or are they curious about exploring solutions? Do they use please and thank you when asking for help? As a parent, guardian or teacher, you can guide them through those emotions and responses, helping them understand the way they are feeling or explore new options.

“Watching how children engage with Busy Books can be very revealing about their current social skills and manners. Some children will be open to sharing, taking turns or asking for help if needed, while others may need some guidance on doing this.”

By encouraging critical thinking.

Critical thinking refers to how we analyse and evaluate information, which is important for kids and adults of all ages. It involves many different social skills, from self-monitoring and empathy of others to problem-solving and reasoning. Kids with better critical thinking skills tend to be better problem-solvers and may be better communicators in conflict, such as in a bullying situation. 

Many activities in Busy Books are designed to get kids to think critically. Some activities will include logic puzzles or brain teasers to help kids choose from multiple options or come up with innovative solutions, while others will give real world examples or provide conceptual ideas, like cause and effect, patterns and relationships. If you’re guiding a child working through a Busy Book, encourage them to think outside the box, look at their options and explore new ideas to help them develop their critical thinking and other social skills.

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Through social cues.

Busy Books Teach Social Cues – Social cues, or the nonverbal communication signals that we use to understand others’ emotions and intentions, are an important component of social skills. Many busy books feature stories that rely on social cues to convey meaning, such as characters making facial expressions or using body language to communicate. As children engage with these stories, they learn to recognise and interpret social cues in a fun and interactive way.

Children’s busy books are a valuable tool for encouraging social skills and manners in young children. Through interactive play, children can learn about sharing, turn-taking, cooperation, social cues, and empathy. They also offer a safe space for children to practice and develop these skills without fear of judgement or negative consequences. Parents can use busy books as a fun and engaging way to help their children build the social skills they need to navigate the world around them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Children Social Skills & Busy Books

How can parents detect gaps in their child’s social skills?

Parents can detect gaps in their child’s social skills by observing their child’s behaviour and interactions with others. Signs that may indicate a gap in social skills, depending on their age and progress, may include:

  • Difficulty making conversation.
  • Avoiding social situations or not choosing to interact with friends.
  • Difficulty understanding social cues or norms.
  • Difficulty with eye contact or nonverbal communication.
  • Difficulty with verbal reasoning or understanding figurative language.
  • Trouble with sharing, taking turns or collaborating.
  • Struggling with conflict resolution or problem solving.


Parents can also ask their child’s teacher or other caregivers for feedback on their child’s social skills when they’re not present. Children may behave differently when a parent or primary guardian is not present, so having knowledge of this can help detect any gaps in their social skills early on.

What can parents do to help their child improve their social skills? 

Parents can help improve their child’s social skills by helping them develop new social skills, providing opportunities for social interactions with different people and being a good social role model themselves. Teaching children social skills, like self-control, cooperation and taking the perspective of others, can promote the learning and development of social skills. While providing opportunities for children to interact with others, such as through playdates, team sports or clubs can help children improve their social skills, socialise with people of different ages and backgrounds, and learn from their peers also.

Parents can also teach their child about emotions and emotional health, which can help improve the child’s social skills. Busy Books are one way to help children learn about emotions, including learning to connect a particular feeling or response with an emotion. By being involved in a child’s social development and providing the necessary tools to success, kids have a good guide as they age and interact with the world. 

What activities can help improve social skills in children? 

There are many activities that can help improve social skills in children, including:

  • Role-playing, allowing your child to play out different scenarios and make introductions for resolving conflict. For example, they may role-play being a shopkeeper or a customer.
  • Group activities, like team sports, clubs and other activities can help kids learn how to work together and communicate effectively.
  • Busy Books can help children learn verbal and non-verbal communication and social skills, interactive play, encourage empathy and to study their emotions through different fun-driven activities.
  • Volunteering can help children learn empathy and develop a sense of responsibility towards others.
  • Games, like board games and card games, can help children learn to take turns, follow rules and communicate with others.
  • Social stories can help kids learn different responses and their consequences in different social situations.

Kids who are exposed to a range of different social activities and environments have a good headstart in forming healthy relationships and succeeding in life. Parents can take an active role in helping instigate these activities to encourage the development of their child’s social skills.

How can I help my child get along with other kids? 

Parents can help their child get along with other kids by teaching them social skills and providing opportunities for social interaction in different environments. For instance, parents can use play, like games, to help their child develop skills in taking turns, listening and sharing, helping them interact more positively with other children. Kids can also be encouraged to participate in group activities, like playdates and team sports, to help them make new friends and meet new people. 

Parents can also be a good role model through their own social behaviour and interactions, as well as provide emotional support to their kids. Children will feel more confident and secure in social interactions with the emotional support of someone listening to them, validating their feelings and helping them develop emotional regulation skills. 

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