When your child starts attending daycare or school, you may be thinking of what type of programs the teachers are following and how your child will grasp the new lessons. But school is also a place where a child develops his or her social skills. Some kids are naturals at making new friends, while others may fall behind in this area. If your child has no friends, here are a few ways you can help them find some.
Your child may have trouble expressing themselves about this situation, so it's important to listen carefully and pay attention to what they do share. Find out what lunch hour or recess is like for them, and ask what they've tried to do to make friends. Have they approached a fellow classmate (and which one?) about playing together? What happened when they did?
If your child is awkward when it comes to approaching new people — from mumbling and frowning, to not making eye contact — then practicing a few social scenarios at home can help them break these habits and learn new skills. Get them to speak clearly and in a proper tone, make eye contact and use people's names.
If your child is naturally quiet and reserved, chances are he or she will never be the loud, gregarious, life-of-the-party type of kid. So recognize this when having them practice their social skills. Remember that there are many personality types, and not one is better than another. If you can get your child to get along and make friends in his or her own way, be it soft-spoken and guardedly or loud and assertively, accept that as it is.
Invite other children over for play dates with your child. Choose kids who are similar to yours, from demeanour and personality, to of course, interests. If they both love action heroes and are at the same level in terms of social skills, the two kids are likely to bond more easily. If you know of other kids who are loners at school and seem to suffer from the same lack of social skills, approaching those children's parents about an outing together might work too.
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