Wednesday, January 25, 2017
How to help my child to make friends
Children are not born with social skills. They are learned. Some children may develop these skills faster than others and it will depend on the stimulation and environment they are exposed to.
It is a fact that a single-child will tend to struggle more to make friends. It is also a fact that your child will do a lot better with just a little help from you. After all, you only have to show your child how it’s done.
In Tribal Societies, this concern about Social Skills hardly ever exists. Children of all ages hang out together, so the older ones look after the little ones, they play with them and, therefore, “model” the social behavior for them. The little ones just imitate the older ones. In our society, instead, children are grouped by age at daycare, preschool, and school, so there is very little room for “role modeling” unless it comes from their parents.
These 4 Tips should help your child to make friends at school or preschool:
1. One-on-One Playdates. Have only one friend invited to your house. Let your child choose who will be his or her guest. During play time, you’ll have to “model” the social skills your child needs. Some other day, you take your child to his or her playmate’s house and you keep “modeling” the social skills. Playdates work a lot better if you start only with one playmate at a time and at your house: your child will feel more secure and self-confident. You can increase the number of playmates and switch houses progressively.
2. Outdoor and Indoor Playgrounds. Climb into the attractions with your child and take an active role in “pretend” play. Let your child see how you “break the ice” and start interacting with other children. Then you take a step back and let your child play. You’ll only step in if your child needs help to defend him o herself.
3. Have some Role-Playing when you are alone. Pretend you are a new friend to your child. How would you behave if you were a child who wants to play? You would use phrases like: “Hi. Can we play together”, “Do you like dogs? I have a pet…”, etc.
4. At Preschool and Elementary School Age, have your child’s friends coming over to your house as often as possible. Kids love to show their toys and having their “little gang” in their own house, and it helps them to be more self-confident at school too.
Childhood is about having fun and learning by playing. It is our job to do the best we can to help them.