As humans, it’s our nature to interact with other humans, especially for kids. Helping your kids develop good socialization from a young age is key. Our goal at Tender Years is to make the journey of making friends and creating bonds as easy and enjoyable for children as possible. We’ve compiled a list of the best ways that will help you and your children when it comes to socializing.
Talk About Feelings
As a parent, it’s your duty to know what your kids are feeling to avoid any emotional distress within your home. It’s proven that when you sympathize with your child’s feelings and help them through those negative or positive emotions, it allows the child to be sympathetic towards others as well, and to welcome everyone using a friendly and warm atmosphere. When your kids are happy, sad, mad, or scared, and talk about it with them. So the next time your child has some negative emotions, don’t trivialize them or teach them to swallow those feelings, talk about them.
Try this: Practice having a conversation where you ask questions back and forth, instead of just asked and answered. Teach them when someone asks a question and they give an answer, what would be a nice question to ask back?
- How as your day today?
- It was good, how was yours?
- It was ok, I really enjoyed our field trip. Did you like our field trip as well?
- I did like the field trip, my favorite part was the ice cream at the end. What’s your favorite type of ice cream.
- That type of thing.
Everyone can agree that being polite and respectful will get you far in this world. This is true for almost everything. Especially when it comes to making and keeping friends. Teach your children about active listening. This is when they show someone that they’re paying attention to not only the conversation, but the other person as well by maintaining strong eye contact, facing their body towards the speaker, not interrupting, and responding to the speaker when appropriate. This helps the speaker to develop a certain amount of respect and trust for the one listening. Teaching them give and take will help them build better social competence and negotiation skills. This is helpful with kid to kid and kid to adult interactions as well!
Try this: Do a little role play.
- Try having a conversation with your child and turn your back on them when they are talking. Ask them how they feel about it.
- Ask them how they feel if someone interrupts them when they are saying something. How does that make them feel?
- How do they feel when they give someone a gift and they don’t say thank you.
Say No to Competition
The last thing we want to do when helping a child make friends is to create negative feelings due to competition or discourage a friendly and non-competitive vibe later on. The best way to influence friendship is to maintain a cool and friendly atmosphere that allows the children to socialize in a warm and helping environment. Think cooperation not competition.
Try this: When engaging in a play date, put away the toy guns or super competitive games and bring out the toys, puzzles and projects that help kids interact and work together.
Fitting In Different Situations
As a child, it’s hard sometimes to just throw yourself into a group and join in on their fun, especially when other kids may not be as welcoming.
Try this: The best way to teach your child how to fit in to another group’s fun time is to help them come up with the answers to these questions:
- What can you do to fit in with whatever the group is doing?
- Talk through creative ways kids can be relevant to the game other kids are playing. For example, if the kids are playing a hospital game, your child can be a new patient. Work through some scenarios with your child.
- Teach them about not being disruptive to the game by trying to change rules or force a part.
- Explain to them when to move on. If the other kids don’t want you to join, don’t try to force your way into their game. Find something else you can do, or a new group of friends.
Let Them Work It Out
If your child is in a dispute with another kid, don’t try to get in between, but instead, ask your child what he/she thinks would be the best way to solve the issue. Sometimes they know what needs to be done, but need that extra push in order to actually do it. The only time to get involved is if there’s bullying or any violent interaction going on.
Here at Tender Years, our specialty is kids. We all want to do the best we can fostering and encouraging kids to make meaningful friendships and have happy days.