It’s every parents worst nightmare – when you ask your child how their day went at school, to get the response, “I’m always on my own at play times, no-one will play with me. I’ve got no friends. No-one likes me.” I’ve had a very similar experience with my own son and it’s utterly heartbreaking. You really want to help, but it’s difficult to know what to do, after all, you can’t force other children to be friends with your child. But if you’re like me, and want to be proactive and do what you can do help, here are our top tips to help your child make friends;
- Have a birthday party for your child. Not only will this help raise your child’s status, but it will give you an opportunity to make friends with the other parents – which is all part and parcel of helping your child to socialise. It doesn’t need to cost the earth, just a small tea party at home is fine.
- Model friendly behaviour yourself. Say hello and chat to other parents and children at school – encourage your child to smile and say hello to people as part of their normal day. Being friendly actually goes a really long way!
- Have children over for play dates. Regularly inviting other children over to play helps to forge good relationships and bonding, something that will raise your child’s confidence and help with their interaction skills.
- Talk to your child – try and find out exactly what the issues are and perhaps role play some examples of what they can do to help the situation – or practice approaching other children to ask if they can play.
- An obvious one – talk to your child’s teacher or practitioner – they may have some ideas for solutions, perhaps encouraging more group work or suggesting a child who might be a good match.
- Organise days out with other children and parents. This can just be a trip to the park, or a weekend away. It’s important for children to practice having friendships with lots of different kinds of children, even if they’re not at school or nursery together.
- Find out what clubs and activities are going on both with the children in your child’s class or setting, and more generally. Having something in common will give children something to talk about and encourage them to form a bond.
- Find out what your child’s talent is and nurture it – be it sport, music, dance or whatever. Being good at something will give your child kudos and draw other children towards them naturally.
- Ask older siblings or children of your friends to keep an eye out for them – lending a hand and stepping in when needed.
- Finally – tell your child they are loved and liked by their family at home, no matter what happens. Forming relationships can be quite tricky, but having the love and support of family at home can make a huge difference.
Do you have any top tips for encouraging friendships amongst children?