Is your child shying away from making pals?
In any school, it is perfectly normal to have a set of children who have difficulty making friends. They have social skills that are perhaps not as sharp as those of others at the school. There are things you can do as a parent to help your child find her footing in a group of children. Read on.
If your child enjoys solo activities, then allow her to do it. Not being able to socialize is a common problem among school-going children. Don’t make a big deal about it.
Identify the lack
Not all children have problems making friends because of the same difficulty. Shyness is a major cause. However, if you look deeper, you may find it could be because of reasons that are unique to each child. The hurdles could be:
- Not being able to work as a team
- Being too bossy
- Feeling self-conscious because of a physical feature (“You are too fat!”, “Your ears are too big!”, “You lamppost!”)
- Being emotionally withdrawn (not being able to share feelings of joy, disappointment and sadness)
Let them use stories
Children often project their problems on their dolls or as stories. Ask your child to tell you a story about a horse that had difficulty sharing his ideas and emotions with people. If your child has a favourite doll, then ask her, “What is Tessy feeling these days? Who are her good friends? Does she ever feel scared or shy? If yes, then when?” Many kids find it easier to discuss real-life issues through fictional stories.
Meet other parents
Being friendly with parents of your child’s schoolmates makes things easy for you. Firstly, this way, you will be able to model the social skills that your child will be urged to emulate. It can also help you set up after-school activities with other children more often.
Keep your child busy
Get your child enrolled in painting classes, team sports, dance, and gymnastics after school. This after-school exposure is essential because your child may need to spend more time sharpening his/her social skills and do so in a non-academic light-hearted environment. This may also help you identify if the problem is just that the class or school your child studies in doesn’t have the set of children who may be interested in activities he/she is interested in. In other words, it may be that he/she just may not have found his/her kind of friends yet.
Know some kids in your neighborhood. It’s easier to walk down the block to see if a friend wants to play hide-and-seek rather than to set time aside to arrange play-date with a child who lives across the city.
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