When it comes to the development of the child, the environment they live in plays a vital role. It influences their socio-cultural behaviour which acts as a base for their future relationships. Therefore, parents need to nurture their children by paying attention to their social behaviour at educational institutions and various other places.
If your child does not like to make friends and prefers to sit alone than go out and play, it’s necessary to ask reasons for this and check if there is an underlying condition. Sometimes, trauma at an early age can hamper their social development and make them socially anxious.
So, to make things easier for you, this article presents a parental guide for helping kids make friends at school.
7 effective ways for helping kids make friends
1.Acknowledge the problem
If your child is facing difficulty interacting in social situations and their primary responsibility is flight, it’s your responsibility to acknowledge this problem. If you ignore or avoid it and consider under this disguise of it just being a phase, your child won’t improve in his further relationships.
Therefore, it’s important to first acknowledge the problem and if needed, nudge your child to come out of their comfort zone to talk to other kids. It will require some coaching and encouragement which has to be done gently and not in a pushy or dominating tone.
2. Consider the possibility of social anxiety
Social anxiety is an extremely real phenomenon that is not only observed in adults but also kids. If it’s not diagnosed, it might exacerbate social behavioural problems in the future for the kids which might disturb their mental peace.
If your kid is diagnosed to be socially anxious, you must adopt a sensitive and responsible parenting style so that your child feels comfortable in sharing his or her feelings. It also facilitates the child’s independence and self-confidence.
A socially anxious child would view the world from the lens of danger and threat. When a child begins to act on such notions, the parent must stop this thought process and make them realise how beautiful and delightful the world is, despite its immoral shortcomings.
In addition, it’s important to determine the level of anxiety that your child is facing. If it’s a high level of anxiety, it is only prudent to consult a paediatrician or school counsellor who will help in paving the way. Not only that, but child psychologists have also developed treatments for treating clinical anxiety such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which helps in rewiring your child’s brain and debar all the misperceptions.
Be that as it may, it’s also important to understand the root of the child’s perception. If they’ve been exposed to harassment and violence at a tender age, their brains will certainly forewarn them and stop them from diving into uncertainty.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you surround your child in a peaceful environment that facilitates growth and development.
3. Roleplay at home
If your child is facing difficulty in making friends and starting up conversations, you must do a bit of a role-play at home.
You can start by talking about your child’s interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes. This way the kid will learn how to begin the conversation, maintain its flow and also end it, when necessary.
4. Walk the talk
Kids always learn from their parents. No matter how much you say them, the real learning only starts when they see their parents walking their talk.
If you’re in a social gathering and your child is with you, be extremely aware of what you’re saying, how you’re saying and to whom you’re saying. Your child is observing every behaviour of yours, consciously and subconsciously. This becomes their learning opportunity where they learn how to interact, negotiate and make decisions.
5. Observe your child
Observation goes both ways. Make sure that the next time your kid has to do some sports activities or other activities, you attend with them as it would give you the perfect opportunity to observe your kid and how he or she is making friends with other kids.
Observe whether your child is behaving similarly or differently than they would do in your house. More often than not, when kids are socially anxious, starting conversations is insurmountable for them. Under such circumstances, it’s important to teach them how kids make friends normally and analyse how you can help them to come out of their comfort zone.
Once you get an idea of their behaviour, you can decide your child’s strengths and weaknesses. It will give you a good headstart in helping your child make friends.
6. Always stay by their side
Although this point’s pretty obvious, it cannot be stressed enough. More often than not, kids often feel shy when they are introduced to a new environment. However, once they get an idea of what they are in, they open up and everything’s uphill from there.
But, in some cases, kids require more than analysis of their environment. Under such cases, it’s important to stay by their side, support and encourage them to acclimatise to the environment.
7. Stop comparing:
Mark Twain once said, ‘Comparison is the death of joy’ and indeed, it couldn’t be more true. When you compare the socio-cultural behaviour of one child to other children, what you’re doing is more than comparing. You’re reducing the kid’s self-confidence and making him the subject of negative emotions and feelings. This can manifest in toxic ways in their future. Therefore, consciously or subconsciously, if you’ve been comparing your kid to anyone else’s, stop it, immediately.
Parenting is tough, but being a kid in this world is also not a piece of cake. So, don’t be hard on your kid. Be patient and surround them in an environment that makes them comfortable to open up and be themselves.
These are some of the most simple yet effective ways you can try to help kids make friends. Apart from them, there are a plethora of books to help kids make friends that you can read and make them understand the importance of friendship.
In addition, in this fast-paced world, believe it or not, you might have to introduce your kids to technology earlier than you imagined or you were exposed to it when you were young. Cell phones help kids make friends as it ensures global connectivity and helps in maintaining social relations.
So, if you’ve been worrying about the future of your kid who’s not social, don’t worry. Try these tricks for helping kids make friends and see how the magic happens.