As parents we often find ourselves standing on the line between wanting to do everything for our child or letting them do everything on their own. Most of the time we can reach a happy medium that works for both us and our child. One of those things, an important step in life really ,is how to make friends.
For some children this may come easy and for others, it can be quite challenging. Today, I want to talk about how to help your child make friends both in school and in any situation. Obviously, we can’t (and shouldn’t) make friends for them, but we can definitely help them as parents.
A child’s social life is very important and especially as they get older. So to make sure they make good friends that will last a lifetime, you will want to give them tips on how to make friends at school- that they can also apply to any situation.
Help Your Child Make Friends at School
1. Be a role model for how to treat friends
Show your child that good friendships aren’t about being bossy, but it’s about give and take and compromise. It’s important that children practice taking turns and even losing graciously. So at home spend time playing board games and not always letting your child win.
Empathy is an important social skill which can be taught by example as well. Bringing food to a sick neighbor or visiting an elderly person and bringing your child along to these things will show him or her how to be empathetic towards others.
2. Know your child’s personality
If your child is shy, then you probably can’t expect him to be the leader of the group. But that doesn’t mean he’s unable to make friends. You can help bridge the gap by having playdates in your home for your child. Some kids do well with one or two really close friends while others like large groups. Knowing what your child does best with and not imposing your own preferences on your child is going to be key in making them successful in making friends.
3. Be the house all the kids want to go to
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Just always be open to having kids in your home. You don’t need to provide copious amounts of things to do per se, but just be welcoming of kids in your home and encourage your child to invite friends over.
4. Help your child work through friendship drama
Even the best of friends are not always going to see eye to eye on things. And that’s okay. It’s important that you help your child to see where his friend might be coming from and how to navigate problems effectively.
5. Don’t choose your child’s friends
Let your child pick his friends. Letting your child be friends with children who have different views from you is a great way for him to spread his wings. Whether it’s a different religion or the family has different political beliefs, that’s okay. It is important that your child experience different things and make choices for himself.
If a friendship ever becomes a safety concern, then you should step in, but different points of views and beliefs is not a reason for your child to not be friends with someone.
6. Talk to your child about bullying
Saying nothing is part of the problem and it’s important that your child knows he can come to you if he sees another child being bullied – and especially if he’s the one experiencing the bullying. Encourage your child to speak to their classroom teacher, as well. You can speak to the child’s parents or the school administration if you need to, and work together to resolve these problems.
7. It’s okay to not be a part of the in crowd
You want your child to be himself and not push to be a part of a certain group of friends. Popularity is all relative and it’s not always measured by the number of friends you have. Quality over quantity is a good way to look at things.
For the most part you need to let your child make his own choices when it comes to friendships, but you can give him the tools he needs to be a good friend. And just talking to your child, knowing who his friends are and knowing his friends’ parents will make things a lot easier for everyone involved.
How do you help your child make friends?