How to Help Your Child Make Friends (A)
Some kids are naturally good at making friends, while other kids may struggle to strike up a conversation with another child. If your child has been struggling to make friends, you may be concerned and want to know what you can do to help. There are many different ways that you can support your child’s socialization efforts, help your child to develop good social skills, and increase your child’s opportunities for socializing.
Improving Your Child’s Social Skills
1. Model good behavior for your child. Children look to their parents for guidance about how to behave in social situations. Modeling good social behavior when you interact with acquaintances, friends, family members, and other parents can help your children develop positive social skills .
a. Look for similarities in your likes and dislikes. If you are just getting to know someone, pay attention to what the other person says he or she likes and point out similarities when appropriate.
b. Be a good listener. Demonstrate active listening skills for your child by facing the person when he or she is speaking, making eye contact, not interrupting, and acknowledging what the other person has said by making neutral statements, such as “Yes,” “I see,” and “Uh-huh.”
2. Foster empathy in your child. Empathy allows us to take the perspective of someone else and consider how that person might be feeling. This is an important skill for healthy friendships because it can help us to be more sensitive to our friends’ feelings and to respond in helpful ways.
a. For example, having empathy can help your child to understand that a classmate who has just lost a pet must be feeling sad. This can help your child to know that she should be extra kind to the person to make her feel a bit better.
b. You can help your child to develop empathy by asking her questions that encourage her to take the perspective of others.
3. Talk to your child about good friend qualities. You can also help your child develop good friend qualities by discussing those qualities with your child. Try asking your child questions to help her think about what he wants from his friends. For example, you might ask your child:
a. What do you look for in a friend?
b. What traits should a good friend have?
c. What kind of behavior makes you want to be friends with someone?
4.Teach your child about good conversation skills. Good conversation skills can help your child to make and keep friends, so you may want to spend some time coaching your child about how to talk to other kids.Some things you may want to teach your child about good conversation skills include:
a. Starting a conversation. Give your child some tips on how to introduce himself to other kids. For example, you might advise your child to pay another child a compliment to break the ice .
b. Asking questions to get to know someone. Explain to your child that sometimes you have to ask questions to get a conversation going.
c. Finding similarities. Advise your child to listen and watch for similarities to make it easier to connect with other kids.
5.Give your child advice about social interactions. Giving your child advice about how to handle certain social situations can help your child to have better social interactions.If your child struggles to approach other kids or join in games, then she might benefit from some advice about how to join in and what to do if she is rejected.
a. If your child wants to join some other kids who are playing, you can advise your child to watch for a few minutes to see what the other kids are doing. Then, when she feels sure that she knows what is going on, she can go over and try to do something along the same lines as what the other kids are doing.
b. You might make sure that your child knows not to try to change or stop the game. Just try to join in with the game the other kids are playing.
c. Tell your child that if the other kids don’t want her to play that she should just leave and find something else to do. Let your child know that trying to force yourself into a group will not work.