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Five Tips to Help Your Child Make Friends

So you’ve enrolled your child in a new school, and now your mind is consumed with thoughts of their interactions with other students and if they'll make friends. While there is no fail-proof solution, here are a few tips on how to encourage their bright minds and yours to be open to new experiences.

Tip #1: Structure Counts

The goal is to make the interaction comfortable. Find ways for your child to enhance their social skills. Provide opportunities for them to interact with a wide variety of kids their age—church, group sports, or play dates. Organize things for the children to do without the pressure of having awkward silence like bowling or a trampoline park.

Tip #2: Focus on the Strengths

When interests intersect with peers there is a better chance for organic friendships. Being in an environment with others who enjoy their interest creates the feeling of belonging and inclusion. This also allows the child to get a boost in self esteem and confidence. Additionally, it removes the parental expectation or pressure on the child if they can form the bond on their own through their interest. Does your child enjoy cooking or karate? Find a class and sign them up!

Tip #3: Partner with the School

If your child is experiencing difficulties forming friendships, before changing the environment ask for assistance. Having a partnership with the school counselor or the teachers may be a window of opportunity. They can identify behaviors and create matches for the child based on seating charts or known similar interests. As childcare experts/professionals they can be a resource for you and the child.

Tip #4: Listening & Acceptance

As parents we can forget that our children are their own individuals with feelings, thoughts, and personalities. Ask your child about their interactions and how they feel about making friends and accept that it may be different from what you envisioned. Having a child with a different temperament than you (introvert/extrovert) can cause a disconnect in how you explain approaching social situations. Understand it doesn’t make one way right or wrong; it is just different. That is okay. Your child may not be your mini-me in this regard so being open to exploring ways to connect will be key in helping your child thrive.

Adult friendships are part of what makes parenting a little easier. Leaning into years of friendship and similar core values, not to mention the memories are all joyful nuggets to pull from. If your friends have children make it a point to connect and now you all can be besties.

As parents, we understand the importance of long term friendships and offering our children ideas for managing social interactions. Eventually, there will be a natural connection and your worry days will be minimized until the next parenting adventure.

About the Author

Ciera Haskins, MAML

Ciera is the Founder of The Caffeinated Mama, a Mom Community based in Support, Self-Care, and Balance. She is the mother of an energetic five-year old and primarily writes about the balancing act of motherhood and self.

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