Encouraging Friendly Relationships
In the fast-paced culture that we live in today, children seem to have busier schedules than in past generations. As a parent, you may be shuffling them from one activity to the next, or one sports practice to another. The social opportunities for your child can vary with each activity and some children have an easy time developing friendly relationships with their peers, while others may struggle. Parents play a significant role in helping their young child develop a healthy social life so that friendships are more likely to form.
Here are some ways you can encourage your child to make friends:
- Model positive social behavior. Children learn by example, so it is important to be mindful of how you interact with others. Your child is aware every time you have social interactions whether it be with friends, neighbors, or even the cashier at the grocery store. Every conversation becomes a learning opportunity for your child.
- Role play. If your child finds it difficult to socially interact with their peers at school, sit down and practice at home. Use puppets, or stuffed animals to act out different social scenarios. This will allow them to use their imagination and learn different ways of striking up a conversation.
- Reinforce and praise. Make it gratifying and exciting to practice trying new things. Whether your child is making fast, or slow progress in developing their social skills, make sure that you support their efforts. Acknowledge the small successes and let your child know how proud you are of them.
- Give your child a head start. If your child wants to engage in an extra-curricular activity whether it be a sport, or music lessons but is reluctant to start, take them to view others engaging in that activity to build up their confidence. If they have a certain sport in mind, you can also participate in that sport at home with them.
Learning how to build friendly relationships and engage socially is an essential part of life. Encouraging your child to develop important social skills in ways that feel familiar for them will help build their confidence to socialize and grow friendships with their peers.