It can be a challenge making friends in school if you are new to the school or neighborhood. The beginning of the school year can be a lot of fun for kids as they share and exchange stories from the summer activities: camping, fishing, making trips to see relatives, playing sports or going to camp. Seeing their friends in school is a great opportunity to share and exchange stories. But what if your child wants to make different friends from last year, or just simply make new friends?
Your child’s temperament can play a role if they tend to be shy. In addition, kids need to have the social skills to make connections with other kids. The challenge for any parent is how to help your child step out of their comfort zone and have the grace to create a relationship with another child.
For a child that is shy and perhaps introverted, helping them build social confidence can go a long way. Start out by setting examples at home.
A good place to help your child identify the values that are important to you is to practice at home. Talk with them about what you value most in a friendship, such as:
We should not underestimate how much our children are observing our behavior. When we have a good relationship with our child, we are more likely to influence them with our values. Having a good relationship with your child implies:
This in turn will help your child seek out other children who may share the same types of values and feelings.
We can take opportunities to get to know other children through school activities, from neighborhood parties, sports events, art camps and other get togethers. By hosting get togethers, you can observe the type of play that other children exhibit and how they treat each other. This will help you select those friendships that you wish to promote as you help your child’s social circle grow.
In addition to helping your child build friendships, it is important that they build good social skills. Here are some thoughts to consider:
All these suggestions will need to be practiced at home, so your child learns these skills and becomes confident. Pretend play and pretend scenarios can be a good place to start!