Parents often worry whether their child is fitting in socially and if they are making enough friends, the right friends, and more. Common among young children, it may difficult for them to socialize and make new friends. As a parent, it is up to you to show them how it is done! Here are a few ways in which you can help your child make friends:
- Be sure that you do not add any added pressure to your child to make friends. It is common for children to struggle with making friends as they discover themselves. Be supportive, but do not pressure and ask too many questions about his or her social circle.
- Social skills need to be developed. Be aware of your child’s social skills and identify any areas that are lacking. Shyness, over assertiveness, sensitivity, and lack of team cooperation are just a few signs that your child may need some coaching.
- Teach your child the basics of starting a conversation, such as what is your name, or do you have any pets? This will allow your child to make the first contact and help start a conversation. Your child will quickly learn how to determine their friends based on mutual likes.
- For young children, storytelling is a great way to teach them the skills needed to make friends. There are many children’s stories that teach about sharing, working as a team, and more. As you read the story with your child, ask him or her a better way to share or work as a team.
- Play groups and play dates are a fantastic way of teaching children how to make friends. Remember children mimic their parents, so what better way to teach how to make friends, then you doing it yourself. In addition, play dates and groups instill the necessary social skills that can be lacking from just making friends at school.
- Allow your child to become involved in extracurricular activities. This not only will encourage team work, but many of these children become great friends because they have so many things in common.
- Invite other children in the neighborhood to visit your home. You can arrange special play dates, backyard fun, and bike trips with the neighbor kids. Neighborhood friendships are some of the easiest friendships for young children.
- Build on your child’s strengths. Perhaps your child is a book worm – encourage him or her to meet others at the library for a fun filled afternoon of reading. Maybe your child is into science – suggest that he or she visit a museum or go on a backyard dig with some others that are into the same thing.
While every child is different and will handle social situations differently, it is important as a parent that you expose your child to social situations at an early age. These situations will teach your child how to make friends and so much more!