Just like adults, every child has a desire to make friends. It's a natural instinct, but they may need a little help. Children develop friendships differently from adults, they must first learn social skills. These skills include learning how to communicate, solve problems, cooperate, and negotiate. Here are a few tips to help your child develop friendships:
Create opportunities for your child to meet others:
- Set up play dates.
- Host family gatherings like backyard BQs, Christmas dinner etc., so your child can interact with family members and friends.
- Involve your child in activities such as ballet, sports etc. where they can meet other children and interact.
- Alternate with other parents driving the children to and from various activities. (I was a carpool mom for years and thoroughly enjoyed it).
- Listen to your child when they talk. They will tell you what they're thinking in their own way and words.
- Ask questions so they will talk to you.
- Take the time to get to know your child's friends. Have sleep overs with pizza parties or bake cookies. (I learned alot about my daughter's friends by having sleep overs).
- Get to know the parent's of your child's friends.
Be An Example for Your Child:
- Show your child how you interact with your friends. They will learn from you.
- Give your friends lots of compliments. This will boost your friend's self-esteem, but also teach your child to give compliments to their friends.
- Laugh! Your child will learn to have a sense of humor.
- Avoid arguments with your friends in front of your children. If it's unavoidable explain to your child that it's okay to have a disagreement and work out your issues.
Lead the way and your children will follow. They will develop meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime.