I know that many parents worry about their children making and having good friends. I am sure it was easier for some than others. Some children are more extrovert than others, some develop more advanced social skills. Social skills are a important factor in making friends. Research show the quality of your child’s relationships is an important protective factor in self esteem and resilience in later life. Here are three ideas to encourage your child’s social skills.
How do you communicate with your child, do you listen?, do you ask how they are,? are there times when you all talk together such as family meetings? How we communicate is an important factor in our child social skills. Encouraging your children to ask questions will enable them to initiate a conversation with friends.
Share with your child that people like to talk about themselves and they like talk about what they like doing. So, asking about hobbies is a safe conversation breaker! Brainstorm some hobbies, to help your child think of some ideas.
You can then role play with your and your child taking turns. If you start first this can help to model what to do and say. Using Puppets, cuddly toys, playmobil and lego are great for this. Then ask them to do an experiment and try this out at school or somewhere they can feel safe to achieve it.
2. How to make an invitation
I know how hard it is for some children to ask for something.It can be something simple such as can I play with you? Can I sit next to you, can I join in?
Brainstorm ideas of what your child would like to do, think about what they might like to ask. Then role play, in this part its really important to role play and to help them understand what happens and what it means if someone says no.
Children may need a bit of help to understand it may not be personal. Practice with them so they know how to make the invitation sounds real. If they are anxious, and don’t want to do it, ask them what would need to be different for them to go into school or go to a out of school activity or how can we help to lower the “worry”. Always go at your child’s pace.
3. Building a safe and secure relationship with you.
Children have different temperaments and some may be more introverted than others. You can really help them outside of the home by putting in the hours to develop a safe and secure relationship, so keep talking praising, spending time with your children too. I know it can eel an enormous task and if you need help ask for it.
With Love Catherine, would love to hear your ideas.