Learning how to make friends is something all children go through as part of their development. But not all children get the cues that another child wants to make friends. No parents want to see their children grow up without friends, so it’s natural to make an effort to help them along.
As a general rule, the worst thing a parent can do in this situation is to talk about it openly. It’s rare that starting a conversation about their children’s lack of friends or pressuring their children to make a change will help shy or reluctant children. Here are some tips to help your kids make friends without being obvious about it.
Work on Basic Manners
Image via Flickr by sinclair.sharon28
Being polite is something that kids should learn, and parents can make sure their kids do by reinforcing niceties when appropriate. It’s also important to encourage children to share what they have with others. Sharing encourages a sense of community and friendship with others, and it shows children how to create a bond with another human being. Toys are also tools for teaching sharing skills. Toys made for multiple users are helpful in showing young children how cooperation works, and board games made for older kids create a sense of camaraderie.
Keep Appearances Neat and Clean
Kids tend to be visual when it comes to judging both surroundings and people. When they see a playmate who doesn’t look quite put together, kids interpret it as a signal that the other child is different. This can lead to avoidance and even bullying. That doesn’t mean kids need to dress in the latest fashions, but as a general rule, they should dress in clothes that match, change regularly, and keep their clothes relatively clean.
Parents can help kids fit in and keep up appearances by teaching them the importance of looking decent for school. It never hurts to give kids a reward in the form of new clothing, but there’s no need to purchase name brand clothes at full price in order to encourage kids to look good. Coupons can help parents buy something nice for their children’s school wardrobe without paying full price.
Host and Attend Parties
Getting together a group of kids presents an opportunity for your child to socialize and make friends. Kids typically want to invite people they like or kids they want to get to know. What they might not realize is that they can also exercise their social skills and learn how to make friends. While they most likely won’t make best friends with everyone that comes to the party, kids can leave the party with the knowledge of how to interact with and learn about others.
All children are different in how they learn how to make friends. As a parent, you can use your influence to help your kids gain necessary interaction skills that serve them well now and later in life.