• How to Help Your Child Make Friends

  • Every parent wants to make sure their child has friends, at school or elsewhere. However, not every child is naturally equipped with the necessary skills to build a comfortable peer group. Many times it’s left up to the parent to work with their child on making friends and developing relationship skills that will help them throughout life. If your child is struggling through making friends, try incorporating some of these tips into your parenting:

    1. Encourage Positive Social Skills – Social skills can often end up overlooked by parents, because for many, socializing, or building social skills, comes naturally. Don’t assume your child will learn these skills on their own. Instead, make an effort to practice things like conversation and rules for meeting new people, and encourage skills that might help your child communicate effectively with kids their age. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to be sure to emphasize that these skills should only be used on kids their age and that the “don’t talk to strangers” rule still stands.
    2. Explore Extracurricular Activities – Combine your child’s socialization with extracurricular activities to help them find like-minded children. Kids who have the same interests or a like-goal will often communicate and socialize more easily with each other. While school provides a common ground for kids to associate, extracurricular activities provide a common interest without having to focus on schoolwork.
    3. Befriend Like-minded Parents – If your efforts continue to prove ineffective, try taking matters into your own hands by befriending parents with kids the same age as your child. This not only allows you to set a good example for your child and establish a clear concept of social skills in your household, but it also allows you to set up play dates during which you can survey your child and their manners throughout.

    When your child makes a new friend, show an interest by asking questions about the friend. Not only does this encourage the child to continue growing in their friend-making efforts, but it allows you to monitor the kinds of friends your child makes. Children should learn to make friends at a young age, and with these methods, you can ensure your children have all the social skills they need to socialize their way to a happy life.