How to Help Your Child Make Friends
Some kids are naturally good at making friends, while other kids may struggle to strike up a conversation with another child. If your child has been struggling to make friends, you may be concerned and want to know what you can do to help. There are many different ways that you can support your child’s socialization efforts, help your child to develop good social skills, and increase your child’s opportunities for socializing.
EditImproving Your Child’s Social Skills
- Model good behavior for your child. Children look to their parents for guidance about how to behave in social situations. Modeling good social behavior when you interact with acquaintances, friends, family members, and other parents can help your children develop positive social skills.
- Look for similarities in your likes and dislikes. If you are just getting to know someone, pay attention to what the other person says he or she likes and point out similarities when appropriate. For example, if the person mentions that he or she enjoys swimming and you also like to swim, you might point this out.
- Be a good listener. Demonstrate active listening skills for your child by facing the person when he or she is speaking, making eye contact, not interrupting, and acknowledging what the other person has said by making neutral statements, such as “Yes,” “I see,” and “Uh-huh.”
- Foster empathy in your child. Empathy allows us to take the perspective of someone else and consider how that person might be feeling. This is an important skill for healthy friendships because it can help us to be more sensitive to our friends’ feelings and to respond in helpful ways.
- For example, having empathy can help your child to understand that a classmate who has just lost a pet must be feeling sad. This can help your child to know that she should be extra kind to the person to make her feel a bit better.
- You can help your child to develop empathy by asking her questions that encourage her to take the perspective of others. For example, if your child tells you that a classmate was not in school today because her dog died, then you might say, “That’s really sad. How do you think Susie must feel right now?”
- Talk to your child about good friend qualities. You can also help your child develop good friend qualities by discussing those qualities with your child. Try asking your child questions to help her think about what he wants from his friends. For example, you might ask your child:
- What do you look for in a friend?
- What traits should a good friend have?
- What kind of behavior makes you want to be friends with someone?
- Teach your child about good conversation skills. Good conversation skills can help your child to make and keep friends, so you may want to spend some time coaching your child about how to talk to other kids. Some things you may want to teach your child about good conversation skills include:
- Starting a conversation. Give your child some tips on how to introduce himself to other kids. For example, you might advise your child to pay another child a compliment to break the ice, such as “I like your sneakers.” Or, “You’re really good at tetherball!”
- Asking questions to get to know someone. Explain to your child that sometimes you have to ask questions to get a conversation going. For example, you might advise your child to ask getting-to-know-you questions, such as, “What’s your name?” “What games do you like to play?” “What’s your favorite subject?”
- Finding similarities. Advise your child to listen and watch for similarities to make it easier to connect with other kids. For example, your child might notice that another child is wearing a t-shirt with a picture of his favorite cartoon character on it. Then, you child could approach the child, compliment the shirt, and mention that he also likes the character.
- Give your child advice about social interactions. Giving your child advice about how to handle certain social situations can help your child to have better social interactions. If your child struggles to approach other kids or join in games, then she might benefit from some advice about how to join in and what to do if she is rejected.
- For example, if your child wants to join some other kids who are playing, you can advise your child to watch for a few minutes to see what the other kids are doing. Then, when she feels sure that she knows what is going on, she can go over and try to do something along the same lines as what the other kids are doing.
- You might also make sure that your child knows not to try to change or stop the game. Just try to join in with the game the other kids are playing.
- Tell your child that if the other kids don’t want her to play that she should just leave and find something else to do. Let your child know that trying to force yourself into a group will not work.
- Allow your child to go it alone sometimes. It is great to offer advice and to try to help your child, but keep in mind that sometimes your child will need to be left alone to try things our and learn from her own mistakes. Although it may be hard for you to see this happening, keep in mind that you can use these experiences as learning opportunities.
- For example, if your child has a negative social experience, you might say, “I noticed that the other kids got upset while you were playing with them. Do you know what they were upset about?” Or, “You did a really great job of sharing your toys with your friends, but I noticed that you did not let them play the way they wanted to play. Do you think that might have upset them a little?”
EditSupporting Your Child at Home
- Encourage your child to share his or her emotions. Kids who are encouraged to share their emotions tend to have better social skills than those who are not encouraged to share their emotions. It is important to be sympathetic and to be willing to listen when your child has a bad experience trying to fit in with other kids. If your child says she had a bad day at school, ask what happened. Let your child tell you about everything that happened and offer your support.
- For example, after your child has finished telling you the story, you can say something like, “I’m sorry you had such a bad experience today. It can be really hard to make new friends.”
- After your child finishes telling you what happened, it might be a good idea to find something fun for your child to do to help her feel better. For example, you might ask your child if she would like to go to the park for a while or color in a coloring book.
- Help your child prepare before a friend comes to visit. Kids sometimes invite school acquaintances over to play and this can help to form a new friendship. To ensure that your kids have the best chance of making a new friend, you may want to spend a little time coaching your child about polite ways to play with someone who is visiting.
- For example, you might remind your child to be a good host by asking what the guest wants to do first. You might also encourage your child to pay attention to clues that the guest is having fun, such as smiling and laughing.
- You can also help your child prepare for a guest by putting out some games or toys that the guest might enjoy. Ask your child to think about what her guest likes to play and choose games and toys based on this knowledge.
- Acknowledge your child’s successes. When your child has a successful interaction with another child, make sure that you acknowledge the success and the positive behavior that led to that success. This will help your child to make a connection between the behavior and the social success.
- For example, you might say something like, “Your friend has such a good time playing with you today and you did such a good job of sharing your toys!”
- You can also acknowledge good behavior to help your child see what might lead to socials success. For example, you might say something like, “You are so good at listening to your sister when she tells you her stories. Do you listen to kids at school with that much patience too?”
- Practice authoritative parenting. Authoritative parenting is a style of parenting where parents set firm rules and boundaries for their kids and offer explanations why those rules are in place. This is different from authoritarian parenting, which is a style of parenting where parents set harsh rules and expect perfect obedience but do not offer any explanation for the rules or punishments. Kids who are raised by authoritative parents tend to have fewer behavioral issues and better relationships with their peers.
- Consider your parenting style to determine if there are opportunities to become more authoritative rather than authoritarian. For example, you could make sure that your kids know the reasons behind the rules by sitting down and explaining them. If your kids ask questions, be willing to answer their questions and explain your rules more fully.
EditIncreasing Your Child’s Social Opportunities
- Arrange play dates for your child. Arranging play dates for your child can help to provide your child with more chances to socialize and make friends. This may be especially helpful if your child is shy and has a hard time asking other kids to play.
- Try asking the parent of a child that your child likes to play with at school if you can arrange a play date for your kids. While talking to the other parent, you might say something like, “Susie and Jenny often play together at recess. Susie wanted to know if Jenny would like to come over and play after school on Friday.”
- Encourage your child to participate in an after school activity. After school activities can provide your child with more chances to make friends and your child will have the added benefit of already having something in common with the other kids. If your child is interested in an after school activity, encourage him to participate.
- After school activities can include sports, music, dance, and other activities.
- Consider meeting with your child’s teacher. If your child still has a hard time making friends despite your efforts to help, then you may need to speak with your child’s teacher to find out more about what is going on. Your child’s teacher may be able to work with you to increase your child’s confidence and to encourage her to socialize with her classmates more.
- Try setting up a meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss your concerns.
- Ask about how your child interacts with other kids in school and look for ways to improve your child’s social connections.
- Put a stop to bullying. If your child is being bullied, then you will have to intervene and ask for support from your child’s teacher as well. Bullying can cause severe emotional distress that may last into adulthood, so it is important to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
- Call your child’s teacher right away if you suspect that your child is being bullied in school.
- Find ways to keep bullies away from your child outside of school as well. For example, if your child is being bullied on her walk to school, you may want to walk with her for a while or alert the crossing guard.
- If your child makes one or two good friends, this may be enough for her. Don’t worry if your child is not the most popular kid in her class. It is more important for her to have one or two good friends than lots of friends with whom she does not have a close relationship.
- Deal With Bullies
- Survive High School
- Be Yourself
- Be Nice
EditSources and Citations
<ref> tags exist, but no
<references/> tag was found
from How to of the Day http://ift.tt/1ULUUG0