As a parent, you naturally want to find ways to help your child make more friends. You might have a shy and introverted little girl or an insecure son who isn't quite sure how to make and keep friends. This is a frequent problem during the early years of school, especially preschool through first grade, but it can be an issue in later years as well. You don't have to watch your little darling sitting on the fringes and feeling lonely, nor do you have to interfere and embarrass your kid. All you need to do is implement a few ways to help your child make more friends.
1. Know Your Child's Personality
You know your child's personality better than anyone else. Take it into consideration when you're looking for ways to help your child make more friends. If your child is an introvert who prefers opposites, you can help nudge him or her toward outgoing children. If your child has a mild temperament and likes the same kinds of people, you can help him or her find matches.
2. Set Good Examples
Children learn by example. They're little sponges sucking up knowledge and impressions every day. As such, your child will take cues from your friendships. Foster strong friendships yourself and your little one will see you having fun, fruitful, and fulfilling relationships. My mom had a circle of strong female friends and that certainly taught me the importance of having a bestie.
3. Teach Fundamental Friendship Skills
It's not enough to just set an example, however. You also have to teach your child how to make friends and how to be a good friend. Emphasize the importance of being friendly, open minded, and enthusiastic about new experiences. However, you should also let your child know to be aware of bullying. Teach him or her that real friends don't hurt you, take advantage of you, or boss you around.
4. Put Together Play Dates
Plan play dates with other kids in your neighborhood or in your child's classes. Talk to his or her teacher about what children your little boy or girl seems to like, or which ones might make good matches. The other moms are likely just as eager to help their kids make friends, so this will work out for everyone. It also gives the kids a chance to bond outside of the classroom.
5. Become That House
You know the house I mean, right? Become the house where every child is welcome, and all the kids are allowed to play, romp, explore, and have fun – within reason, of course. The point is, sometimes creating a comforting, welcoming environment is an excellent way to nurture friendships for your kids. His or her friends will feel comfortable coming over; moreover, they'll want to, and sometimes frequency helps to cement fast friendships.
6. Offer Conflict Resolution
Sometimes kids fight. They argue about things that seem silly to adults, but kids think they're pretty serious. If you can help your child resolve conflicts with his or her friends, do so. You don't have to interfere more than you should, and you shouldn't automatically take sides, but you can listen, provide a sounding board, and perhaps get the other parents involved.
7. Teach Great Values
Back to the idea of bullying, you need to teach your kids good friendship values. They shouldn't bully others and they shouldn't accept bullying from others. Teach them not to be fickle, fairweather friends, not to play their friends against each other, and not to take more than they give.
Making friends is hard, no matter what your age. I think it's harder for the extremely young and for post-graduate adults. Come to think of it, while you're helping your kids make more friends, you might be able to use a few of these tips too. Does your child have lots of friends? Did you help?