It’s back to school season and often with the start of a new school year comes a new set of classmates. Although there may be some familiar faces in your child’s class there are likely some new faces as well. For some children, meeting someone new is an exciting opportunity to make a friend! For other children, making a new friend feels a bit out of their comfort zone.
Have you ever wondered how you can encourage your child to make new friends? Developing the skills to make friends comes with time, however there are some things you can do to help your child establish and strengthen those skills.
- Practice Empathy- teach your child to demonstrate concern about the feelings of others. This will help children connect as there are many common feelings that most people experience. There is comfort in knowing that someone else may have experienced the same emotions that you are feeling.
- Initiate Interactions- this may take an extra dose of courage, but often both children may feel hesitant to make the first move. So, if one child initiates a shared activity the other child is likely to participate.
- Take Turns- this can have several meanings. Taking turns can mean sharing toys or materials during play and it can also mean sharing thoughts or ideas during a conversation. Either way, it’s important for children to demonstrate that they recognize the needs and rights of others.
The best way to teach children about the skills for developing friendships is to model them, or in other words practice what you preach! It’s important to talk with your child about these practices but follow the conversation with a real life example to help reinforce the concept. Again, these skills take time for children to develop, however with these tips you can support your child in establishing new friendships.