How to Encourage Your Child to Make Friends

July 5, 2018

Social interaction can be a tricky thing for children to navigate through since it involves many unfamiliar situations that can feel confusing and scary. But developing social skills and friendships are important to help your little one build up self-esteem, learn how to be kinder towards others and engage with the world around them. So if your little one has been struggling to interact with others, here are a few ways to encourage your child to make new friends.

Set Playdates

If you have a close friend or relative with a child of similar age to yours, this is the perfect opportunity to arrange a playdate. This lets both kids meet each other one on one, in a less intense and chaotic setting where they can get familiar with one another. This is a great way to practise with your child by teaching them how to be respectful and how to share all within a comfortable setting that’s supportive. This will help to make it much easier once they head out on the playground.

Coach Them

Kids need our guidance to develop the appropriate skills to succeed in the world. And social skills are crucial for this. That’s why it’s important to coach your child even when you’re at home. If you notice that they’re struggling, encourage your child to make friends by explaining the dynamics of good behaviour. You can teach them about this by role-playing, explaining how important it is to take turns, share, or give a comforting hug when someone’s hurt or upset.

Teach Them How to Settle Conflict the Right Way

Learning how to settle conflict with others is another crucial skill to emphasize with your child as they continue to develop their social skills. Nobody wants a bully in the yard acting impulsively and aggressively towards others. And in order to avoid this, it’s also worth practising and reinforcing the notion of how to handle upsetting situations appropriately rather than resorting to anger or aggression.

Encourage But Don’t Push

For children that are naturally shy, it’s necessary to encourage them, but don’t push them. Every child is different, and often, if you give them some space, they will eventually learn at their own pace. Pushing can sometimes have an opposite effect, so let them learn as they grow.

Introduce Them To Daycare

Daycare is often where children first interact with other kids and where they meet some of the first lifelong friends in their life. Spending a few hours each day around others in a safe, encouraging and engaging environment can push them outside of their comfort zone just enough to learn how to let go of their anxiety and engage with their peers. This is an excellent way for them to really step out of their shell at a young age, which can be very beneficial to their social skills as they continue to grow.

At Tiny Hoppers, we provide a fun, safe and engaging environment for kids to enjoy and play in. Our instructors are certified professionals who love what they do! Bring your child by for some stimulating programs where they can learn, have fun, and grow.

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