Using social stories to teach core social-emotional skills

October 24, 2021

Social Stories are individualized short stories used to help children understanding social situations by describing and explaining what will happen and providing examples of appropriate responses.

When we, as adults. want to do or learn something new, we often start with some sort of manual – a set of instructions with steps to follow. Social stories can be thought of as little "how-to" guides for young children. By using storytelling, we can teach children about social-emotional strategies, routines and expectations in an engaging and relatable way. Often teaching kids the "why" behind a behaviour like patience, regulating their voice or sharing can help them build the skill.

According to Dr. Saad (2016) social stories are powerful. They are able to help children improve social communication, conversational skills, self-regulation, and overall social skills, as well as diminish undesirable behaviours.

Specific areas social stories can help with (and we have a social story for each of these topics on the Earlybird platfrom!):

  • New experiences, such as school drop off
  • Transitions, moving from one activity or environment to the next
  • Social skills, such as sharing, listening, personal space and regulating their voice
  • Learning routines – bed time, going to the bathroom/potty training, or hand washing
  • Specific behavioral skills -using gentle hands, accepting "no", and moving through getting hurt

Each story on the Earlybird platform consists of a simple, child friendly plot. There are spaces on certain pages to personalize the story to the child. Each story also has a reference page that summarizes the key strategies of the story that can be used during times when reading the full story isn't an option.

All you need to do is:

  • print and cut out the social story pages
  • fill out the personalized sections with the child
  • staple it together (kids LOVE making their own books. It really encourages them to buy in)
  • read it again and again

Join Earlybird to download all of our social stories (with more being written and added!).

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