Most children don’t seem to have any issues making friends, but if your child is shy or joins a school later in the year, it can be hard for them to connect with others. As a parent, this can break your heart. You don’t want your child to be lonely. Besides this, being able to make friends easily will improve your child’s social skills, which can set them up for success later in life.
So what can you do to help them come out of their shell and make friends with their classmates or even just kids they see at the park? Here are six tips to help your child make friends that they can rely on for the rest of their time at school, and perhaps beyond.
Introduce Them to An Activity
You can’t expect your kids to make friends if they are cooped up indoors all day. This is why it is so important to introduce them to an activity. Most children will spend their early school years playing some sport, whether soccer, basketball, softball, or anything else. However, not all kids enjoy sports, so you will need to look for something else. Scouts is another option, but regardless of which activity you select, your kid will meet others and even gravitate to those with who they might share a connection. Besides making friends, out-of-school activities can also team them vital life skills, including teamwork and communication.
Teach Them to Be Curious
Many children possess natural curiosity, so much so that their incessant questions can get a little irritating if you need to hear them all day long. You shouldn’t discourage them from asking questions, though, and being curious can help them make friends wherever they go. No matter how old they are, people like talking about themselves, so encourage your child to ask more than they answer. This will help them find out more about the other kids they spent time with and can help them make new friends along the way.
Get The Teacher’s Help
You can’t be with your child all the time once they start school, and this means you could miss out on which children they are closest to in class. If your child is reluctant to talk about their day for whatever reason, consider speaking to their teacher to find out who they connect with most while they are at school. You can remember these names and save them for playdates, which could be an exciting surprise for your child. You can also work with the teacher to encourage your child to connect with others. If you explain that your child is shy, the teacher can sit them next to more confident kids, which might help them come out of their shells.
Use Their Interests
Every child has something that interests them. They might love going to the museum or visiting the park to look at the bugs and birds that live there. While they might be happy to do all of this by themselves, you can ask them if they want to bring a friend with them to enjoy the day with as well. This will give your child and their friend something to talk about, which can help to boost their self-esteem and could inspire the same interest for the other child, too.
Work With Professionals
Most children won’t require professional help to build social skills. However, if your child is on the autistic spectrum or has learning difficulties, they can find it more difficult than other children to make meaningful friends. To give them the help they need, look at possible Social Skills Programs that can help to teach your child how to play nicely with others. As these programs are family-friendly, you might learn a few things, too.
Let It Happen Naturally
While there are many ways to push your child towards making new friends, you shouldn’t force it every time. Everyone has a social battery that can run down easily if they feel the need to be on all the time. For most children, they will naturally make friends, and even the extra-shy kids will often just need a little time to feel more comfortable. Therefore, if it seems as if your child is struggling to make friends immediately, don’t worry. There’s still a chance it will happen soon enough.
Making friends can be challenging for shy kids or even those who feel a little different from everybody else. However, it is still important to teach your children all the tools available that will help them connect and engage with others of their own age. Wherever they make friends, you can be sure that these skills will help them achieve everything possible in life.