SELF HELP RESOURCE - Parenting / School Age

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Some children seem to make friends very easily, while others need extra help in learning how to make and keep friends. With appropriate guidance, encouragement and assistance from parents, children can learn the social skills that are so essential throughout life.

Several suggestions are given below. Work towards taking small and gentle steps that encourage positive social interaction without being very pushy.

Call children over to your place to play with your kid                

Start with the most familiar face so that the child does not find his presence threatening. Be ready for a mess. Create an environment in your home that attracts children. Try to get together with the same kids on a weekly basis. If things go well meet in a park or the other kid's house as well.

Try to have regular playtime for your child                                 

You should plan a time when your child has had a good nap and is ready to play. It should be a short and interesting outing with lots of physical activities.

Plan activities for the children                                                 

Orient the playtime around games and activities your child enjoys and is good at. This will make them comfortable and feel good about themselves. Encourage them to play games of hide and seek, read to each other or play board games or simply splash in a wading pool. Maximise the positive interaction by making sure there are plenty of materials, so children have enough to play with and don't necessary have to share right away. 

Involve yourself in the group activities                                            

Don't just leave the kids to play by themselves and hope for the best. Your guidance can make children feel more at ease with each other, especially if they are new friends. Make yourself available in case they run into conflict, get distracted and stop playing together or need a change of activity. However, try not to dominate or fill in for your child; the idea is to help break the ice without taking control.         

At times play with your child alone                                                  

This allows you to stimulate interaction while getting to know his/her play style. While playing with your child, you can get a sense of where your child is struggling and when is it easy for him/her. 

Have your own friends over                                                     

Family interaction offers models of social behavior; so call your friends over. Include the children in your get-together. Have a double play time with a friend who has children.

All this will help your child interact with others and slowly learn to enjoy the company of friends.

 

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