Can you teach your young child social skills? Yes. Here’s how.

Happy Wednesday!

Heads up: spots are still available in the free online parenting class – How to Help Your Kids Get Along with Other Kids – that I’m teaching TOMORROW, Thursday, June 27. Click here to register for this free class, so you can learn how to handle it when your kids aren’t getting along!

In-training update: edits to the book I am currently drafting are back from my editor!! I will be speaking with her today, and I’m excited because it’s another step on the path to getting Educating Happy Kids: 9 Ways to Help Your Children Learn What They Need to Know out to you ASAP.

As always, thank you so much for your positive energy and messages as I keep going with this huge project of finishing a book. It means SO much.

How to teach social skills

When a coaching client of mine shared that her kids’ teacher had told her “there is no way to teach social skills,” I wondered how many people have this mistaken assumption. I knew I wanted to write to you about it, in case you had also received the same message.
Social skills can totally be taught! In fact they are a natural part of being human, we are teaching them all the time.
3 things you can do to teach your child social skills:
1) Expose your kids to other kids.

If our children are going to learn how to be social, they need that exposure first and foremost. Playgrounds and parks, libraries, fast food play places… I’m sure you can think of many more, but these are the first that come to my mind as places you can bring your young children and just raise their social-exposure-time.
2) Let them play.

Open-ended and screen-free are the operative words here. Participating in a planned activity/class, or watching something on a screen alongside other kids, doesn’t count because our kiddos need time and space to spontaneously connect.
3) Play WITH them.

Participate in some of the many different kinds of open-ended, screen free play in the world:


  • Run warm water and soap into the sink; add spoons, ladles, or plastic containers and use a smock or something to protect clothing, and just play. Be sure to wipe up, especially the floor, after the play is finished.
  • Put out drawing materials; watercolor paints; or craft sticks and glue out on a table, and again just play! Explore the materials. Listen to your child’s exclamations and questions, and enjoy this time of hanging out and talking together. As with the water, if it’s something messy dress your child in less-than-best clothing and layer newspaper on the table to prevent damage to furniture.
  •  Place play dough out on a table, along with (if you’d like) rolling pins or molds. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just a selection of objects that you and your child can use with the play dough.


  • Take a short walk, stopping to let your child marvel at (to us) commonplace things like puddles, or frost, or interesting plants or flowers
  •  Let your child explore in an age-appropriate way; if it’s appropriate, take off shoes and wiggle your toes in the grass. Talk about the sensations you feel, and respond when your child does the same.
  •  Bring out a selection of different sized balls, and just see what happens; a favorite memory of mine was when my youngest, at about 2 years old, would arrange two stability balls so that he could take a running leap and roll over both of them, landing on his tummy in the grass, and just lying there giggling.
  • Turn on the hose and fill a few pails or buckets. See what happened if you drop balls, rocks, or other objects into the water. Does the water from the hose feel cold? Or warm?

Just explore together, and talk as you do so.

It’s hard to believe that you’re teaching social skills while you do this. But it’s true.

Ultimately, teaching social skills means being social.

Talking with kids, hearing their questions and responding to them. Giving them the opportunity to engage, socially.

That’s it.

That is the work here.


Regardless of whether you “teach,” you’re always teaching something.

When I was about three years old my mom got into an argument with my uncle, who told her “F–k you!” Before my mom had a chance to respond, I snapped back “no, f–k you!” Which caused both of them to laugh, quickly settle their argument, and reign in their language.

Kids are always watching us for cues about how to behave. This is true whether we acknowledge it or not, which means that kids take on behaviors we don’t necessarily wish they would.

We are always teaching something. The best we can do sometimes is to try and be mindful of that.

Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/on YouTube/in the Facebook group…

And for the picture of the week! Which is of a place where I learned tons of social skills!
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
What’s up on the podcast this week:

We’re exploring this question about how to teach social skills more thoroughly on the podcast this week! Click the link below to listen:


What’s up on my YouTube channel this week:
Extending on this theme, the live YouTube (I do one every Thursday) is called
“Can I teach my child social skills? If so how?” and it is available at the link just above! Or,
Check out my YouTube channel by clicking here.

What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
Each Monday in our We Turned Out Okay Facebook group I do a superquick Facebook live that I call “Magic Words for Parents”… And this week’s was all about one phrase you can use to teach social skills.
Click here to join the Facebook group : )

Picture of the week:

This is the view of one of my favorite places in the whole wide world, the reservoir in the town where I grew up, attended camp, and spent countless hours soaking up nature as a kid.
Ben and I got married at this reservoir, too!
It’s got lots of great memories and I know for a fact that I learned tons of social skills in the water swimming, sailing or canoeing on the reservoir, and engaging in tons of activities around it as I was growing up.


PS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.

Back when I was the picky eater

Happy Wednesday!

I am still in training! This is week two of the drafting of Your Child Explained Volume 2, and I’m sharing about my progress and next steps. I want to have this book in your hands in mid August, so I’m reporting my progress as I diligently work towards that goal.

And then today, I talk about my own experience as a picky eater, and I offer a free guide, about 5 ways to handle a picky eater… I hope it’s helpful as you raise your kiddos, especially if you’ve got picky eaters of your own!

Continue reading “Back when I was the picky eater”

What are your back-to-school challenges? (Bonus podcast episode)

What’s toughest for you about this time of year?

Maybe it’s your worries about how your child will handle the upcoming school year

Or maybe it’s just that you can’t stand the thought of the crazy schedule changes that are coming your way…

Or maybe you’re worrying about how to work with teachers or administrators?

I’m creating a Back to School Bootcamp to directly address your toughest struggles!

We’ll have new Bootcamp podcast episodes all throughout August to get you the help you need, here at the beginning of the school year, PLUS a free guide teaching 6 ways to help your kids love reading…

It all starts with you sharing what drives you most nuts at this time of year.

Click here to fill out my super-quick, 3-question back-to-school survey, so I can help you best in these upcoming weeks!


PS Want to help your child love reading? Click here for the guide : )

My Power/Internet Loss is Your Parenting Gain

Today was supposed to be the last day to sign up for the “How to Help Your Child Navigate the Choppy Social Waters of Life Without Going Under Yourself or Losing Your Mind” Mastercourse… But then THIS happened:

So I am delaying the start of the course by a week.

It’s good news for you if you want to get help:
– Defusing kids’ hostility
– Stopping sibling meanness
– Helping your son or daughter stand up to a bully without BEING a bully
– And lots more parenting conundrums!

Sign-ups are now open until Monday, November 13, with the course official kickoff on Tuesday, November 14.

Click here to learn more and register!


Want to cut down on the sibling meanness, cope with kids excluding other kids, and generally enjoy life with your kids a lot more?

I am offering a FREE minicourse, a small slice of the full mastercourse above.

You can get help immediately with one of the toughest parenting jobs, helping kids with sharing!

I teach a great parent-ninja tactic across three video modules, so you can stop worrying about what to do when you find one kid crying because the other kid grabbed something away, or hit, or lashed out with words.

Click Here to Sign Up for the FREE minicourse about helping with kids and sharing!

Podcast Bonus: #MeToo – Surviving and/or helping your child survive sexual abuse and harassment

Welcome – to listen to this episode, please scroll down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Thanks for listening, and I hope this one helps <3

Sexually abused at age 7, I consider myself not a victim, but a survivor.
In today’s bonus episode, brought on by the #MeToo movement, I share the most important tool in my healing – and the conviction that, if you or a loved one has been sexually abused or harassed, there is help and hope for a good life (even a great one).

Click here for key links, and please consider sharing this episode if you feel like it will help somebody in your life feel better. Thanks, and thanks for listening! Continue reading “Podcast Bonus: #MeToo – Surviving and/or helping your child survive sexual abuse and harassment”

Podcast Episode 190: Guns and Your Young Child

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Given their small stature and relative powerlessness, the idea of something as powerFUL as a gun captivates young children. But in the violent world we live in, their fascination can seem to us morbid and frightening…
All the more so in the wake of mass shootings like the one just a few weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Today’s show gives you concrete ideas about how to raise a nonviolent child in our violent world, and how to feel better if you, like me, share your home with a pint-sized gun enthusiast.

Key links at;
Click here to get concrete help for the huge and important questions in your parenting, by checking out the Ninja Parenting Community! Continue reading “Podcast Episode 190: Guns and Your Young Child”

Podcast Episode 189: Making the Impossible Possible – A Your Child Explained Episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

In which a coaching client of mine shows me that something I’d always thought to be truly impossible is, in fact, possible.
It brings up the question “what happens to our children when we believe something is impossible?” Alternatively, what happens to them when we believe that something is possible?

Key links at;
Click here to learn more about the Ninja Parenting Community, if you’re at your wit’s end with your child, and need some help making the impossible become possible! Continue reading “Podcast Episode 189: Making the Impossible Possible – A Your Child Explained Episode”

Podcast Episode 188: How to thrive in a time of challenges and joys – Dad and 21st Century Creative podcast host Mark McGuinness is my guest today!

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today’s guest knows that we live in a time where everything around us – the challenges, the technology, changing culture – can seem both terrifying and awesome.

Former psychotherapist and current creativity coach Mark McGuinness teaches how to embrace the awesome, and mitigate the terrifying with his podcast, 21st Century Creative, and today he brings wonderful ideas for you to enjoy more of your parenting in this turbulent time.

Mark also brings something new to We Turned Out Okay: a guest-challenge!
An expert at helping people find time to accomplish their goals, Mark drops the gauntlet, setting YOU a challenge in this episode.
Completing Mark’s challenge not only can help you find time in your life for the things you love, but might just when you a copy of his book, Productivity for Creative People… Three copies of which Mark has graciously offered three lucky WTOO listeners.

Listen to find out what the challenge is, and how to enter the giveaway – which ends Tuesday, October 17, 2017!

To take up the challenge: sometime on or before October 17, 2017, go to and tell me how you did with Mark’s challenge…

More key links in the show notes at! Continue reading “Podcast Episode 188: How to thrive in a time of challenges and joys – Dad and 21st Century Creative podcast host Mark McGuinness is my guest today!”

Podcast Episode 187: Three Ways to Work with Your Child’s Teachers (even in contentious situations)

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

In which I identify 5 different ways you might feel about your child and schooling, on a continuum from 1) you knew going into school that your child had issues that impact education, and would need to be addressed to 5) you have no worries about potential issues, and the school reports no problems.
It doesn’t matter which of these five spots on the continuum you occupy – the way to work with your child’s teachers is the same, 3 steps to keep in mind that make every interaction with your child’s caregivers easier.

To read about these three steps and for key links, go to
And if you’re having trouble thinking past mindset and into concrete steps to help you worry less and enjoy more, click here to find out about the Ninja Parenting Community. It’s the place where I help parents solve their toughest challenges every day, so I know it’ll be helpful for you too! Continue reading “Podcast Episode 187: Three Ways to Work with Your Child’s Teachers (even in contentious situations)”

Starting to Figure Out the Answers

One unwritten rule we have in our culture is: never ask a woman her age. So I’ll just tell you mine – I’m forty-four… today!

But I’m also just being born. Today, my birthday, is also day one of this website, this blog, this first day of the rest of my (and your) life. What will we do with today?

It’s a pretty big day, and I woke up a little bit early, feeling a little bit worried… What if I did too much with my arms yesterday, and they hurt today as a result? What if somebody’s sick, or the car breaks down? So many what-ifs.

But I have an ace in the hole, a book of days that in the six months I’ve been reading it, has often given me the feeling that the author is reaching across the two decades that have passed since she wrote it, squeezing my hand reassuringly and saying “today’s answer is right here.”

I’ve had some health issues these last years (the About page can tell you more), and they were nearly at their worst when I picked up this book last November. In a day book like this, the idea is that you read a short entry every day, so on November 10, I read the entry “November 10” in the book. And the wild thing is, the first month or so was about coping with setbacks, especially health-related setbacks, and about giving thanks, probably in the lead up to Thanksgiving. I felt like the author was channeling my problems and addressing them. It felt like magic!

And it still does. So this morning when I woke up worrying and thinking my what-ifs, I got myself a cup of coffee, felt grateful for the hug and big smoochie Ben gave me on his way out the door, and sat down with Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I knew that Sarah was doing it again when I read the title of today’s entry, Walking as Meditation… I said to myself, for the umpteenth time, “this book is a frigging miracle!” (Only, in slightly stronger language that isn’t fit to print here.)

Maybe it sounds crazy to somebody not into exercise, maybe exercise makes a huge difference in my life because I had the ability to use my legs swiped away from me for a time, but Sarah’s solution became clear with the title. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? “I walk regularly for my soul and my body tags along,” she writes, and that is exactly how I feel too.

Forty-four feels like the right age to be today, like maybe I finally know myself well enough today to consider the tougher parts of life with a little bit of wisdom.

In my own sometimes funny, sometimes tearful, sometimes potty-mouthed way, I feel like I’m just starting to figure out some answers… I hope that you and I can connect and figure out some more together.

Let’s start with a walk.