Tips to ease your child into social life.

Every parent knows schoolyard friendships are important. Friends enrich our lives, boost our self-esteem, and provide the moral support we need when we’re learning new things every day. To some children, making friends comes easily. Others have a harder time fitting in. Cornerstones of childhood interaction, like sharing a toy or playing a game together, might elude them.

The Ability to Make Friendships

The ability to form and maintain friendships is an important quality to learn in early childhood. Recent research shows that a child’s ability to participate in friendships correlates with their self-esteem and self-confidence. In turn, this determines if they will be more susceptible to things like depression and anxiety.

While parents can’t make friends for their child, they can provide the support and skills to encourage social development. Here are some tips for every parent:

  • Observe how they interact with their peers – It’s important to see how your child interacts with others. Do they willingly take turns with a toy? Are they hesitant to approach a group? If they struggle to socialize and share, you may need to enforce certain values.
  • Identify one skill at a time to improve – There are certain skills that we all know are necessary for making (and keeping) friends. Here are some behaviors that promote friendship:
    • Starting conversations
    • Joining in
    • Taking turns
    • Expressing feelings
    • Showing interest in others
    • Handling losing a game and rejection
    • Apologizing
  • Practice makes perfect – Once you have established that your child needs some help with a certain area, you can talk to them about the behavior, show them a positive alternative, and provide opportunities to practice the new behavior!

Once you see success with one behavior, more will follow. Finally, it’s important that parents do not place too many of their social expectations on children. Kids just need one or two good friends – they don’t have to be the most popular kid in class.

Signing your child up for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley will aid your child in making connections, interacting, and developing their personality. Contact us today to find out about all of our programs that is the best fit for your child.