It is very common for younger children to have difficulties facilitating friendships. Transitioning from the home setting is no easy feat! Interacting with others that they are not familiar with can be stressful and scary for any child. This is also stressful for parents. As your child grows friendships will become more meaning and difficult to maintain. Worrying about your child’s ability to make friends is completely normal. Your involvement as a parent is such an important part of assisting your young child in learning about friendships and facilitating them.
Here are 6 ways to help your little one to facilitate friendships:
1. Role Play: This is a fun way to help you to learn your child’s understanding of friendship and what it takes to make friends. Through role playing you can teach your child valuable communication skills that they can use to initiate potential friendships.
2. Start in Small Settings: Your child may begin to feel overwhelmed in larger settings why may lead to them avoiding interacting with others. One on one play dates are a great way to not only facilitate friendships, but to maintain them as well.
3. Observe and Learn: Every child is not destined to be a social butterfly, and that is okay! Observing without immediately intervening will you help you to determine your child’s preferences regarding connecting with their peers. Your child may prefer to be alone or they may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Either way it’s important for you to learn exactly what is going on so that you can take alternate measures if need be.
4. Talk About It: As your child goes on to initiate friendships with their peers it is important to be in the know. Check in with your little one regularly about who they are interacting with. Encourage them to tell you about their friends as well as those they may not get along with.
5. Common Interests: Use your child’s interests to help them meet friends. Extracurricular activities are a great way to connect younger children with peers that share common interests. Oftentimes these activities lead to lasting friendships.
6. Meet the Parents: Connecting with the parents of the children that your little is around can assist them in facilitating friendships. Bonding with other parents can lead to regularly scheduled play dates or other activities that create healthy friendships.