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Some children make friends easily. But for others, engaging with their peers might be more difficult. Shyness or awkwardness around other kids isn’t always a cause for alarm; they just might be more introverted. But if you see them struggling to make meaningful friendships, there are ways to help your child make friends. You can help your child become more involved with their peers with these tips to assess their behavior and give them a self-confidence boost.
Take some time to observe your son or daughter around other children to pinpoint spots where they’re having trouble connecting with other children. See if they struggle with situations such as engaging with larger groups or if they’re uneasy playing one-on-one.
While you’re observing your child at a game or the playground, keep in mind that your child might be more introverted than others, and that’s okay. You know your child best; trust your instincts and see what skills they need help building.
The best way to help your child make friends is to model positive social behavior, such as asking questions and using eye contact to engage a friend, teacher, or cashier. Children learn from watching, so every interaction is a learning opportunity to demonstrate how to start a conversation or solve a problem. Displaying empathy will also teach your child how to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.
Practicing social interactions at home is another method to support your child. Have them play the part of the person with whom they’re having trouble getting along while you play the role of them. Demonstrate positive social skills such as asking questions and showing empathy. Then, switch and have your son or daughter attempt to befriend you.
Again, every child is different, so comparing them to their siblings or even to yourself isn’t a proper gauge of how they’ll interact with peers. Extroverted children might have tons of friends, while introverted kids may have one or two solid relationships. Each child has a personality, and those unique traits will partially reflect in how they cultivate relationships.
You can help your child hone their social skills by getting them involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. Be sure to find clubs or activities in which they’re interested, not what you think they should do. Finding activities such as a Little League team or enrolling your child in dance classes will put them in proximity to other children with shared interests and help them build friendships. Setting up play dates with neighbors or classmates is another option. Plan an activity to keep your child focused on something to lower their shyness; board games for kids are great options to encourage teamwork and developmental growth.
Extracurriculars can be especially important for homeschooled children. There are many great reasons to homeschool your children, but you’ll need to plan extracurricular activities and field trips to increase their socialization.
With these easy ways to help your child make friends, they’ll learn to build strong relationships that could last for years.
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