Helping your child make friends

Children today have busier schedules than they used to have with sport activities, academics and play time eating off most of their hours. Some kids are just meant to be social bees while others struggle a lot with it. If your child is not a social butterfly, here is how you can help:

1.Observe your child

If your child does not seem to be making friends easily, attend some of the social events or school events to see how he/she approaches other kids. See how they approach or what they say. Whether the kid is having a hard time interacting because he is unwilling to take initiative or he prefers not talking to others. Depending on their behaviour, choose your course of action.

2.Lead by example

If your children are unsure of how to interact with others, let them learn by observing you. Strike conversations with friends and neighbours while they are watching so they get to see and learn.

3. Role play with them

If your teenager is having troubles starting conversations at school, help them by role playing and talking to them about topics that interest him. Let him know how to start conversations and also keep it up. Try out different ways and see what he feels most comfortable with.

4.Reinforce and praise

Praise them when they have made some progress with making friends. Acknowledge how much you adore them making effort.

5. Set up a playdate

If your children is very small, you can also set up a play date. Invite one other kid from their school and setup a movie night or stayover. If your kid is a bit older, you can invite the baseball team or the math quiz team for a pizza party.

6.Coach them through emotions

Everyone has positive and negative emotions. Children need to learn emotional control to be able to make friends. Help them talk about their feelings and learn about why they are having trouble making friends, then guide them emotionally through it all.

7. Lesser authority

If parents practice authoritarian style of parenting then their kids will have low self-esteem and will expect high level of control. They feel devoid of warmth and do not develop and internalized sense of what is correct and what is wrong since they are always expecting punishment or scolding. Avoid authoritarian style of parenting.

8. Teach politeness

The best lesson kids can learn about communication is how to be polite and nice to others. The more dialogue kids will have in their homes, the better their social skills will be.

9.Help kids with body language

Sometimes you have to teach kids how to read another person’s facial expression and body language.

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