Every parent understands the importance of making friends at school. Friends allow us to improve our self-esteem, enrich our lives, and offer moral support during those times when we need to memorize poems and multiplication tables.
In fact, making friends at school is equally as important as getting straight A’s in terms of development. The ability to form successful relationships with peers at an early age is an important skill that children must learn. After all, it’s one that they can use and refine as they get older.
However, some kids find it a lot more challenging to fit in. Simple childhood interactions such as sharing toys with others and playing make-believe don’t come easy for them.
While it’s impossible for parents to make friends for their kids, they can still play an active role in teaching them how to develop and practice their social skills. So, if you think your child is having problems making new friends at kindergarten in Tootgarook, here are some research-based ideas you can consider:
1. Be your child’s “emotion coach.”
Everyone has selfish impulses and other negative emotions deep within. In order to make friends, we must be able to keep all these responses in check.
According to research conducted among children in the West, kids are able to enhance their self-control better when their parents openly share with them their feelings in a positive, encouraging manner.
2. Practice authoritative parenting.
Separate research involving both Western and Chinese children revealed that children experience a higher rate of rejection from their peers when their parents are more drawn towards authoritarian parenting instead of authoritative.
This refers to an approach in which there’s a lower level of sympathy and more focus toward control. In an authoritarian household, children are discouraged from participating in adult discussion, and their behaviors are controlled through punishments.
Children who were raised using this approach have lower chances to develop an innate sense of what’s right and wrong. In addition, children who grew up getting subjected to punishments have a higher tendency to show more aggression and hostility.
3. Teach children how to communicate politely.
The first lessons about communication that children get starts at home, and whatever practice they get used to growing up makes a lot of difference. Researchers have found out that parents who were able to show higher levels of reciprocity when communicating with their children were able to raise kids with better social competence and negotiation skills.
4. Teach them how to read facial expressions.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, research claims that children in elementary school can benefit from practice at an early age. There are tons of specific activities that will help children practice their skills in reading faces. Doing so will help develop their sense of empathy towards others.
Finally, never make it a habit to compare your children with yourself or their siblings while they’re growing up. Every child has a unique personality and temperament, which will determine the number of social interactions they seek.