Helping Your Child Make Friends

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Having friends is a crucial part of our children's lives, as well as a way for children to learn social skills.
We all want our children to enjoy lasting friendships; however, if your child is a little shy and seems reluctant to make friends sometimes a little help from Mom or Dad is a good idea.
If your child is on the shy side try helping them by providing positive social interactions without making them feel awkward or pushed.
Play dates or other social interactions should be encouraged.
This will give your child a chance to hone his social skills and increase his/her confidence.
We can't choose our children's friends so ask your child who he/she likes spending time with at school and contact the child's parents to suggest a get-together.
Start by inviting one child over and keep the time short to start with.
One or two hours is enough time to get to know each other.
Any longer and they may start to squabble.
Make sure to provide games and activities for your child that he enjoys and is good at.
This will help ensure that your child is comfortable and confident.
Make a few suggestions but let your child pick the activity before the play date.
It is a good idea to stay involved with your child and his potential pal.
Don't just leave them alone and hope it all works out.
You can supervise a cooking or craft project but allow the children to do as much on their own as possible.
If your child is uncomfortable with you always being underfoot respect his/her wishes but be available if there are any conflicts or they become bored and want to change the activity.
Try to arrange regular play dates with the same children.
If things go really well you can suggest an outing such as going to a movie or some other activity.
When your child is comfortable you can suggest that he or she has a play date at his/her friends house.
Let your child know that you are only a phone call away and they can come home anytime.
It also helps to play with your child on a regular basis.
It will give you an idea where your child's strengths are and where he or she may struggle.
Your child may be awesome at video games but may have a hard time playing checkers or doing puzzles.
These activities may frustrate your child and should not be included in a play date.
Try to find out what the flavour of the month is.
Most children are often into some kind of fads such as certain trading cards or a special video game that everyone must have.
The latest trend may not thrill you but it offers great bonding material and gives them something in common to talk about while they are forming a friendship.
It is also very important to talk to your child's teacher about any concerns you may have and have and work together on strategies to help your child make friends.
Offer to volunteer in the classroom to get a good idea how your child interacts with his/her peers.
Most importantly try not to expect too much from your child.
Never make your child feel like they are being forced to make friends.
When a child is shy too much pressure can make a child feel even more insecure.
Try not to focus on it and allow friendships to develop naturally.
In most cases shyness and problems making friends for children is normal.
But If your child constantly avoids eye contact, seems withdrawn or avoids children all together it is time to talk to your family Doctor.
"A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.

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