Friendships will become increasingly important to your child as they grow and they are very significant factors in your child liking school and in his/her learning and overall development. It can be hard for a parent to see a child struggle with friends or lack of them. While as parents we have to avoid micro-managing our children’s interactions, there are some things we can do to model for our children how to be friendly.
∞ Role model being a friend. Let your child see you be involved in showing an act of kindness to your friends. When appropriate talk positively about your friends, telling your child what you value in your friends.
∞ Observe your child’s natural ways of interacting with others. Positively affirm the things your child does naturally which are ‘friendly’.
∞ Teach them to:
- pay attention to others,
- start a conversation,
- read other’s facial expressions,
- give compliments,
- take turns,
These are all building blocks to helping them develop their own friendships.
∞ Invite their friends: Perhaps a play in the park or whatever your child enjoys doing at first. Spend time talking to the other child’s parents/carers again.
∞ Read your child books about friendship and talk about it if your child is open. Some good books about friends are listed on the following sites:
Delightful Children’s Books — 25 Children’s Books About Friendship
Playdough to Plato — 38 Children’s Books About Friendship
A more thorough discussion about many different aspects of children and friendships can be found at:
Kids Helpline — Making Great Friendships
Parenting Science — How to help kids make friends
At Angel’s Paradise, our staff are trained in developing social skills and helping children to interact and our educational program teaches social skills and emotional development.