Making friends can be tough, especially when you are little and inexperienced. That's right, for youngsters, the idea of approaching someone can be both terrifying and nerve-wracking and something that takes a lot of strength to do. Think about it; nothing is more devastating for a child than being rejected socially.
In fact, such experiences can really damage a young person's self-esteem as well as their confidence. Therefore, it is crucial to show your children how to approach other people and how to behave socially, even if it is difficult and frightening. Here are 10 ways to help your kids make friends easily.
10 Be Mindful How You Act With Others
One of the best things to do early on in your child's life is to set good examples of friendship and social interaction from the get-go. For instance, try to avoid any kind of conflict in front of your children such as heated arguments, bickering, and all kinds of negativity. This will encourage your child to talk to others and not be afraid of upsetting anyone when they eventually try to approach them.
Furthermore, interacting with other people in front of them will also give them an opportunity to learn different ways of socializing and behaving, either with a single person or within groups.
9 Role Play
Roleplay is a great way to start your kids on the journey of social interacting and making friends. Kids love nothing more than playing imaginary games with their parents, whether it be dressing up, doctors and nurses, or working and serving in a restaurant, they really can't get enough of it.
The next time your kids want to play a similar game, why not role play some social interaction games instead? Even better, why not encourage your kids to bring a teddy or a doll as a friend, and have them use their newly developed social skills with their new buddy.
8 Start Them As Young As Possible
One of the best things you can do with regards to helping your kids socialize and make friends is to start them off as soon as possible. That's right, it is important to introduce your kids to other people from the very beginning, whether it be adults, children, or babies their own age.
Not only will this help them get used to people and certain movements, but it will also help them understand different facial expressions from an early age. Yes, reading faces is a crucial part of making friends and socializing, and it's something that should be learned from the get-go.
Most parents are familiar with the need to praise their children, just like dogs are given treats when they have learned a new trick. Yes, the best thing to do when teaching children new skills is to let them know how great they have been and how well they have done something.
The same goes for when they learn to make friends, especially in scary situations such as school or extracurricular activities with other children. So, the next time your kid does something extraordinary with regards to socializing, make sure you tell them just how brave and courageous they were and just how brave and courageous they still are.
6 Let Them Figure It Out
Most of the time it is a good idea to help children as much as possible when it comes to learning new skills, making friends, and living their best lives. However, sometimes it is also a good idea to let them get on with things themselves, even if it might mean making a few mistakes along the line.
Obviously, young babies and toddlers need to be supervised at all times, but, as your kids get older, it gives you the chance to maybe step back a little and allow them to do some things on their own. So, the next time you drop your kids off at school or on a playdate, instead of mollycoddling them, give them that opportunity to socialize by themselves.
5 Cooperative Not Competitive
A good thing to establish early on in the parent game is that cooperation most certainly beats competitiveness when it comes to making friends. Yes, teaching your kids to be cooperative instead of competitive can save them a whole load of hassle down the line.
Competitiveness often encourages conflict, which in turn can seriously damage your kid's reputation. Instead, why not play some games that encourage cooperativeness? This will hopefully follow your child throughout their lives. However, it is also important to teach your children that being competitive isn't entirely terrible and that sometimes they might have to use it in the right situations.
4 Cultural Differences
These days, the world is a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures. Therefore, it is highly likely that your children will at some point have to deal with different languages, religions, and cultures that might be very different from theirs.
However, in most cases, nothing much will change. For instance, being kind and helpful correlates to positive personality aspects in all cultures, as do negative personality traits. However, it does help to make your children aware that they should always be respectful when it comes to different faiths and beliefs as well as certain dress codes and behavior.
3 Practice Makes Perfect
If you feel like your child is not going at the speed that you would desire when it comes to making friends, then don't panic. Panicking will not only worry your child, but you will also make them think they are doing something wrong or that they are different from everybody else, and nobody wants to feel like that, especially at such a young age.
Try to remember that, as with just about everything else, practice makes perfect, and your child will probably figure it out soon enough. However, if you are really worried, it is ok to trust your parental instinct, especially now that more and more doctors and hospitals across the world are more equipped when dealing with social anxiety, social disorders, and autism.
2 Don't Compare
One of the biggest faux pas when it comes to parenting is the desperate need to compare your child to that of someone else. Firstly, don't worry, not only is this normal, but it can also help you out a little. However, most of the time, comparing can only end in tears for both you and your child.
Yes, comparing your little one can cause self-doubt, which will only leave them wondering if they are good enough. Sadly, once this seed has been planted it will only continue to grow and could well be a problem for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, comparing your kids to other children can also breed negative traits such as jealousy and negativity, which ironically will only hinder them from making new friends.
1 Don't Ignore Problems
Let's face it, most parents are overprotective, overactive overachievers. However, although this is often frowned upon, it is still important to keep an eye on your kids, especially when it comes to socializing and forming new friendships.
For instance, if your kid is really struggling and has been for some time, it is probably a good idea to get to the route of the problem. Maybe they are being bullied, or maybe they don't like their school or the teachers. Talking to your child is a great way to find out the real problem rather than ignoring it and hoping that they will figure it out eventually.