“Remind kids to look for connections between what was just said and what they will say next,” shares Barbara Boroson, a mom, Scholastic author, and autism spectrum educator. “I like to encourage kids to think of conversation as being like a Lego tower: in order for a conversation to keep going and growing, the various pieces must connect and fit together tightly. If they don’t, the tower will fall and the conversation will collapse.” Also remember to acknowledge past success as a way to open the door to discussion of new social skills. :) :)
“Parents can say, ‘You are such a good talker, but I’ve noticed it seems hard for you to think of things to say when you are with your friends. Do you feel that way?’ Focusing on previous successes, no matter how small, helps build confidence,” explains Brown. Cook agrees: “Give constructive feedback—always start by telling your child what he or she is doing right. Remember to teach, not criticize.” Acknowledge social success through positive reinforcement, for example, “It was great to see you and Eric share how you’re both learning to write your first name!” :woohoo:
If a child continues to struggle or feel less than confident in their friend-making skills, be proactive in organizing play dates for kids. “After-school play dates can support socialization in many ways, [by allowing] social practice in an environment that may feel more forgiving than school,” says Boroson. “Socializing can be much easier in one-on-one situations … and the greatest potential benefit is the creation of a shared experience, a bond that the two children can then build on at school.” Likewise, a shared bond between your child and another child can be formed through choosing enjoyable after-school and extracurricular activities. :whistle: :whistle:
Choosing activities that your child finds fun will most likely create new friendship opportunities, as there is already a shared interest between the participants. At the same time, be sure to not have unrealistic expectations of your shy or socially reserved child. “Some children are more outgoing than others. It’s just their personality. Comparing siblings or other children to yours can be dangerous and skew your perspective,” warns Brown. With just a little gentle parental support and guidance, most children develop the social skills necessary to make friends. :woohoo: :side:
Still, “Be available to listen to your child’s tales of woe from school,” maintains Boroson. “Navigating them successfully is the challenging work of childhood. Support your child by debriefing difficult situations together. Then, rather than just giving your child solutions or new strategies, guide him or her to be the problem solver.” Lastly, Cook advises, “Remember to be patient. Teaching friendship skills will never be as easy as it sounds, and we are all at different levels of learning.” In the end, children will continue to grow socially as they progress through school. :side: :whistle:
Your child is in grade school and out to explore the world. But she is a bit of a loner and seems shy or reluctant to make friends, and this has you worried. Other kids your child's age seem to have no trouble in the social-life department, easily making and keeping pals. You can help, and it's worthwhile. Playing with friends is an important way for young school-age children to learn social rules such as cooperating, not hurting each other's feelings, and waiting their turn. It's also fun. The key, many parents and experts agree, is taking small and gentle steps that encourage positive social interaction without being too pushy. :cheer: :cheer:
The goal is to give your child opportunities for rewarding social experiences that will leave her wanting more rather than feeling pressured to do something she finds difficult. Your child may be shy or cautious by nature, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Rather than try to change your child's personality, you can help her stretch just enough to discover the joys of relationships with peers. But you can't just pick someone out and expect your child to be friends with that person. "You really want to pay attention to your child's cues," says Kimberly Sirl, a child psychologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. :side: :whistle:
Playdates, or informal get-togethers, offer a shy child a starting block for a social life. A few guidelines can increase the odds that your child will have a good time. "If you promote a positive experience, your child is more likely to want to play again," says Dale Walker, a professor of child development at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Keep playdates small. Start by inviting only one or two prospective pals over to your house, preferably kids your child already knows who are around her age. Ask your child who she enjoys spending time with at school, and arrange a get-together. Your child's teacher can help you get in touch with other parents. :woohoo:
Keep playdates short. One or two hours is plenty when kids are just getting to know each other. True, this might mean that the new friend will have to leave just as things are really getting fun, but this is better than having the playdate go on too long and deteriorate into squabbles, leaving a sour taste in everyone's mouth. Plan ahead. Orient the playdate around games and activities that your child enjoys and is good at. This will make her more comfortable and keep her feeling good about herself. Let your child pick the activity, but make suggestions. :lol: :silly: :silly:
Let your kid be himself. You don't want your child to make friends for the wrong reasons, such as trying to impress you.Support quality over quantity. If your child makes at least one friend, you're off to a good start. Invite his/her friend over, and have fun.Befriend the neighbors. If you move in the middle of the summer, try to make friends with the neighbors. There might be someone with children around the same age.
Place for chatting and discussion of important questions, place where you can share your stories and experience, to find friends and to become friend for someone.