Here are 6 tips a parent can do to support your child's efforts to make friends:
Be A friend Talk with your child about what it means to be a friend. Let them see how you interact with your friends. Refer to your friends in conversation and discuss what makes a good friend. "Bob and I have been friends for a long time. I can count on him and he makes me laugh".
Introduce A Play date Provide opportunities for your child to play with others, outside of the school day. Introduce one child at a time and make sure that you have some sort of structure involved and that you remain visible. Consider a Lego game date, a cookie making date or even a trip to the park together. Be watchful as to how your child interacts with the other child and provide some gentle guidance when necessary; out of earshot of the "friend".
Introduce An Activity Take the focus off your child and put it on an activity. Sign your kids up for a Scouting group, a tennis class or an after school club. Give your child the chance to naturally interact with peers as they focus on a sport or activity. Let the teacher know in advance that your child is shy and may need a little support with friends.
Recognize That Alone Does Not Always = Loneliness Some kids do not need a ton of friends and may actually prefer to play alone. While this may be their preference, just make sure that shyness, anxiety or fear are not blocking them from reaching out and encourage them to break out of their "oneness" every so often.
Introduce Another Child Into Your Daily Life Sometimes we have to be a bit creative and introduce a potential friend into our kid's life by including them in something as simple as our car pool. Riding to school together and discussing upcoming school activities can provide a platform on which school friendships can naturally grow.
Be A Good Listener Listen as your child talks about why he or she may not have friends. Give them the support they need to better understand the situation and to make any changes needed to foster future friendships.
Not sure how to even begin a discussion on this and other important topics. Start with a book! Take the time to read the story with your child. Watch for their reactions. Ask them if this has ever happened to them. Discuss ways to ease into friendships.
Here are just a couple suggestions"
Duck & Goose By: Tad Hills A cute story about how many things can get in the way of a friendship.
Two Cool Coyotes By: Jillian Lund What happens when your best friend moves away and loneliness sets in?
Learning to Be a Good friend By Christine A. Adams This is actually a guidebook for children with special insights for parents and teachers.
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