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No parent likes to see their child unable to make friends with other kids. For most kids, making friends comes naturally to them, however, others find it difficult.
Unfortunately, not every child is a social butterfly. It can be heartbreaking for a parent to watch their child come out after school by themselves, or when they don’t get an invite to a party when every other kid in the neighborhood seems to be going.
It can be a very difficult situation to manage as you can’t force other children to socialize with them. Expert pediatricians believe there are ways in which we can help children make friends with others. They believe that a child that struggles to make friends often needs coaching to help them learn basic social skills, which will boost their confidence when interacting with others.
In This Post:
1. Coach Your Child to Improve Their Social Skills
Coaching your child is not like coaching a sports team and whatever you do, don’t go in all guns blazing. Start by observing your child to see how your kid interacts with others. Perhaps during school activities or at the local park. Ask yourself if he seems to act differently when socializing with kids in comparison to the way he acts at home.
For example, maybe your child is shy in front of a group of children and refuses to speak. This can be a sign of anxiety when he is in front of a large group or perhaps he is afraid of public speaking that stops him from interacting with others.
Practicing role play at home is a great way to help build your child’s confidence. Ask him what interests him, and what topics he would like to talk about to other kids. Try a few different topics until he finds an option that comes naturally to him.
To help their confidence, use positive reinforcement when practicing new things. Even with the tiniest bit of progress, make sure that you are excited and rewarding. Remind your child how proud you are of them for trying new things.
2. Try Getting Them to Learn a New Instrument
Learning a musical instrument is a great way for kids to make new buddies. Normally the kids that are most popular in school are the children that are into playing sports, but learning how to play a musical instrument is not far behind.
Let’s take the guitar as an example. Not only is it a cool instrument to learn, but there is also a whole pile of physical and mental health benefits for those who can play such as:
- It can help kids improve their fine motor skills
- Helps relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
- Helps children express themselves: Children who struggle to make friends often find it difficult to express themselves with words
During the ongoing pandemic, getting your child private lessons might not be possible. However, the internet has plenty of content that can help kids learn how to play from the comfort of their own home. This chords guitar finder allows children to easily find guitar chords for all their favorite tunes.
Learning online allows your kid to learn the guitar at their own pace. Streaming services have a wide range of teachers that upload easy-to-learn guitar tutorials. Don’t expect them to be able to learn queen chords immediately, however with practice and dedication, you might be pleasantly surprised.
During the early stages of learning the guitar, it is difficult. However, if they stick at it and improve, their confidence will grow. In most schools, there are bands and other groups that enjoy performing, which might be a perfect opportunity for your child to make some new friends.
3. Organize Social Activities
Organizing the right type of social activities can help your child. Don’t just have a big party with lots of kids and hope for the best. Keep in mind his interests and his social skill level.
Kids often react differently, depending on the situation they are in. As discussed earlier, some kids get shy in front of big crowds, so perhaps organizing a one-on-one playdate might help. Some children prefer organized activities like a day playing crazy golf or going to the cinema. Some prefer shorter playdates. Find out what would suit your child before you throw them into the deep end.
Some children have no friends because of their temperament. Often these children don’t have many friends but they also don’t feel lonely. If this is the case, perhaps speaking with an expert might help.
4. Help Them Come up With Game Ideas
Sometimes kids feel anxious because they don’t know what they will play with other kids. They often ask parents “what will we do?”.
First of all, find out what your child likes to play. This makes it easy because these games will come naturally to them. They won’t have to overthink and worry about not being able to play. Take a piece of paper and scribble down a handful of games that others can join in. This way they don’t have to worry about not coming up with a game when they are interacting with other kids. If your child can’t think of any games, help him come up with some. Play the game with your child so they know exactly what to do when they interact with others.
Try and avoid games on smart devices. Screen time is often a reason why kids struggle to make friends. Although some of these games are multiplayer, they can often end up in arguments as often children are reluctant to share these devices.
5. Introduce Your Kid to the Game “What If?”
For kids who are shy, to help them ease their anxiety, play the game “what if?” with them. Ask them what are the best and worst things that could happen when interacting with others. This helps the child envision what could possibly go wrong.
Maybe they might remember a previous experience where playing with another child gives them negative memories, then find out what happened to your child afterward, and give them advice on how to deal with it. This advice can help them grow more confident, as they realize it’s not the end of the world if everything doesn’t go smoothly.
Teaching your child that sometimes in life they will be rejected is an important lesson that every human being will face. It’s how they react to these situations that matter.
Don’t expect your child to make lots of friends in school overnight. Unfortunately, it can take years for a kid to make a good friend. Don’t put pressure on them, this can make matters worse.
Introducing your child to team sports is often a fantastic opportunity for them to interact and make friends with other children. However, not all kids like sports, so don’t force them into playing if they are not interested. If they are not any good at playing, it might make it more difficult for them to make new buddies. Ask them what sports they like, or purchase them some equipment and practice with them at home. Soccer is a great team sport, so buying a soccer ball and playing in the local park or even your garden will be a great introduction to the sport. If they enjoy it, enrolling them in a team might help.