How To Help Your Child Make Friends Easily In School?
Ever wondered how our life would be without our friends?
Dull. Pale. Meaningless. Fruitless.
Exactly! As adults, if we feel how doomed our life would be, then imagine how essential friends must be for the children. So it is important to help your child make friends from a very early stage.
“What is a friend? I will tell you…it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.” – Frank Crane
This quote quite captured my attention and I will tell you why.
The younger kids are fascinated by gadgets and barely raise their heads from it. The various skills needed to be developed at that age is often prevented by those gadgets. I am not against it, mind you. At the same time, I am not even in favor of its incessant use. Between 3 – 7 years children should be exposed to a lot of physical activities which will help them to mingle with other kids. It is not cliché to take our babies to playground, garden, parks or any recreational place per se. Let them breathe that fresh air, play in the soil, dirty their feet and hands. It is absolutely fine, in fact, it should be encouraged.
The friendships created at this tender age last long too and believe me when I say this. I, too, was an introvert when I was young and I had only one friend then. And we are friends till date for 19 years. Friends are vital. It’s difficult to imagine a life without their presence. For the children to not miss out on these friendships, they can sign up for art club, book club, chess or any sports activity club, camps, scout, summer activities, band, etc.
Below are some tips that can help your child make friends and enjoy their childhood wholeheartedly:
Be An Emotion Coach to Help Your Child Make Friends
Children whose negative emotions are usually trivialized (“You’re just being silly”) or punished (“Go to your room and cool off”) tend to have more trouble with self-control and dealing with problems. Discussing your minor problems with your child and sharing how you found solutions to them will equip them to resolve their issues better and regulate their emotions.
Practice Authoritative (Not Authoritarian) Parenting
Authoritative parenting is characterized by high levels of control in which parents set limits and demand maturity from their kids. But unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents communicate with warmth and attempt to shape their child’s behavior through rational discussion and explanation of the reasons for the set rules. This will teach them to be rational and receptive when communicating with their peers.
Teach kids how to converse in a Polite Way
The earliest lesson a child receives about communication happens at home, and it makes a huge difference to his/her personality. As parents, we should set examples of polite behavior and pleasant disposition. Polite behavior will help your child make friends faster.
Avoid comparison and competitiveness- For young kids who are struggling to make friends, competitive games and other situations that can provoke conflict or discourage cooperation should be avoided.
Monitor Kids’ Social Life
Studies in a variety of cultures suggest that children are better off when their parents monitor their social activities. This, however, doesn’t mean hovering over the kids or interfering in every peer interaction. But it does mean supervising their safety and the company they keep.
These steps will enhance their communication and social skills. When your child begins to go to school, invite his/her classmates to home. As a parent, you too could become friends with other child’s mother/father. This will serve as a role model for him/her to build friendships. Take your friend’s child/children to movies along with your child, indulge them in a scoop of ice cream or that bucket of popcorn. If your child is an introvert, help your child to make friends.
A few steps that can help establish strong friendships are as follows:
Always start by greeting “Hello” and introduce yourself. Then ask the person’s name.
Teach your child to appreciate the little things in life. Let them complement the other child’s things and interests. This will create appreciation and compassion for each other and create strong bonds.
Keep In Touch
When your child comes home and tells you about their new friends, note down the contact numbers or any other details. Help your child to contact them and discourse.
Be A Good Listener
Often in friendships, one often need not be a good storyteller but must be an effective listener. Listen to your child and in turn, make them understand the importance of listening when interacting with their peers. Being bossy and always being the one to talk will only cause one to drift away from other children.
Plan Activities Together
The best way to know each other and build friendships is to do activities together, be it studying, playing a sport or game or reading. Collaborating and engaging over an activity improves communication and promotes bonding.
Let us encourage our children to explore themselves and the world around them. Support and advise them as they take a plunge in building everlasting friendships with other little ones.
[Thank you Ms. Sakina Solanki, who is a Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher at JBCN International School, Parel for this insightful post]