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Meet Nadine Briggs of Simply Social Kids in Tyngsboro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadine Briggs.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nadine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Simply Social Kids began in 2007 but I had personally been studying social skills since 1996 when my daughter, Megan, was born with Down syndrome. Megan was less than a day old when I decided that teaching her social skills was going to be a top priority. I wanted people to take the time to get to know her and I knew that strong social skills would be an important part of acceptance. I left my job in marketing research in the corporate world to follow my passion and created Simply Social Kids. I started coaching kids with social challenges by traveling to different locations with a car full of toys.

Around 4 years ago I decided to open my own center in Tyngsboro, MA. Families come from all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire to attend our unique social skills program. Kids and teens with mild to moderate social challenges benefit from in-the-moment coaching while socializing with peers. Essentially, we connect the dots for kids who have difficulty interpreting social cues. Learning friendship skills should be fun and we love that the kids who attend Simply Social Kids report that social group is the highlight of their week.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I personally love being a social skills coach and am my happiest when I am with the kids. Though, as a small business owner, there are many other areas to be addressed that do not come naturally to me. I have learned to hire others for bookkeeping, legal advice, office management, social media, and so on. Managing growth is another challenge. I hired 4 new employees within a few weeks this summer to accommodate the growth. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I find it rewarding to help kids find lasting friendships.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Simply Social Kids is very different from most social skills programs. Since we are coaches and not mental health professionals, we are decidedly not clinical. Kids who attend like the fact that we are not providing “treatment” but instead are playing games, making forts and enjoying friendship-based activities. We explain the nuances of socialization while they are interacting with similarly-aged peers in a fun, relaxed environment.

In addition to teaching kids friendship skills, we also coach them on problem-solving strategies, resiliency, optimism, and we cultivate their overall well-being. We help kids and teens understand strong emotions and teach coping skills. We explain the science of what happens in their brains when they feel anxious or angry. By understanding strong feelings from this standpoint, they tend to feel more empowered with managing those feelings. Learning self-control helps kids socially in numerous ways. We pride ourselves on our reputation for delivering an extremely effective program. The skills kids learn at Simply Social Kids are easily generalized into other settings as reported by families and school systems. The impact of learning our strategies can be life-changing.

I have also teamed up with my colleague, Donna Shea, to author the How to Make and Keep Friends book series. Our social skills books contain friendship tips for common scenarios and address issues of anxiety, anger, and sportsmanship. Simply Social Kids offers specialty groups for elementary-aged kids using the I Feel Worried and I Feel Mad workbooks which are part of the series.

Donna and I also co-created the Social Success in School initiative where we give interactive seminars to kids and teens in schools to cultivate a culture of kindness and reduce bullying. Schools can choose to have us visit individual classrooms or offer an assembly. We also speak at conferences, parent groups and provide professional development with approximately 25 seminars to choose from that cover a wide range of socialization and parenting topics.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a large family in an apple orchard in upstate New York. My mom had 5 kids in 6 years so we are very close in age and I am the youngest. My parents owned a car dealership and I feel that I learned how to manage people by watching my dad interact with his customers. My personality has been described as outgoing and maybe even feisty if I was having a bad day. I loved music, boating, tennis and riding my bike in the mountains of the Adirondacks. I tended to make friends easily and I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kerri Cotter Photography

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