Making friends is one of the fundamental means of getting by in school. The school environment is where some kids thrive, but can also be overwhelming for some. If your child isn’t doing too well in the presence of other kids, take it as a challenge to help them out through practice, advice, and encouragement. We don’t want them feeling left out in a room full of kids. Thankfully as parents, there are a few things we can do to ensure that our child becomes comfortable enough to be in social situations. This results in them spending more joyful and memorable days with friends in school.
Assess How Your Child Handles Social Situations
Whether that’s in school or in the playground with other kids, take the time to observe your child’s behavior. Watching over them can help you identify how your child behaves around other kids. Is your child that one kid who sits on one corner watching other kids play? This could be a sign of social anxiety. Is he okay doing his own thing? It could be that he’s just an introvert. Or does he do well in playing with others? Depending on how your child behaves in these situations, you can tell which aspects you can focus on improving and start from that.
Be a Role Model for Your Child’s Social Learning
Children do learn by example from their adult role models. You don’t want them picking up unwanted habits from others, so challenge yourself to be one. As a parent, your child naturally looks up to you for tips on how they should behave in different scenarios. Your child takes every bit of interaction you have with others as learning opportunities. They observe you at all times, so be mindful of how you interact with others. Kids often base their social interactions on how you strike up a conversation with others —with your friends, neighbors, restaurant waiters or in the grocery store. So be kind and open when speaking to others and your kids will learn from that.
Role-plays are fun and it gets your child prepared to make friends. It eases anxiety and helps your child get out more from their comfort zone. Having these well-rehearsed interactions which they can easily pull out of their sleeve are way better than making no attempt to interact with others at all. Teach your child how to start and maintain conversations. Talk about topics that your child is interested in discussing and help them out from there. See what works best for them, coach them on what they needed help with and teach them ways to say things better.
Consider Giving Your Child a Head Start/ Be the one to break the ice
If your child is hesitant to go out and join in activities with other children, it’s probably because they just don’t know how to approach them. As a parent, you can help your child by giving them a little nudge. A little confidence boost by giving them a head start. A bit of encouragement to help them break out of the imaginary walls they’ve built.
Help your child make friends by breaking the ice and taking the initiative to start conversations with other children. Set them up for playdates with another child. Or let them invite friends over for some refreshments at your house. Make socializing a positive experience for your child by encouraging their friendships and helping them invest a bit of their time in it.
Praise and Reinforce Your Child’s Efforts
Positive reinforcement has been proven to be effective many times over and will remain a powerful parenting technique in any aspect of raising your child. This applies to teaching positive behavior and will work just as well in teaching your child how to socialize. Whenever your child makes an effort to reach out to others by talking or simply sharing toys, make sure to acknowledge that behavior and let them know that they are doing well. Any little progress counts and so try out new things and praise them for their efforts. No matter how big or small their progress is.
Steer Clear of Sibling Comparisons
No matter how much we say we love all our kids equally, there’s always one that stands out more than the others. We can’t deny this fact, but we can always keep ourselves away from comparing them. Never say things about why one kid is better than the other. Especially not in front of your children. You can’t expect your child to get better at something by comparing and putting pressure on them to measure up with another sibling. If you want to encourage your child to make friends, do so by praising what little progress they make.
Making friends may not go as smoothly as it happens for other people, but being there to facilitate and coach your child helps them gain more confidence in socializing with others.
Help your child become a well-rounded individual! At My Quest Montessori, we provide a complete Montessori program that fosters emotional, intellectual, physical and social development with respect to your child’s individual needs. Visit us today at My Quest Montessori or call (832) 699-5437 for more information.