Is your child making friends? Here's how you can help them out 2 years ago

Is your child making friends? Here's how you can help them out

It’s only a couple of weeks into September and already your little school-goer is showing signs of independence you’ve never noticed before.

We tend to forget it but, for our kids, school is a whole new way of life for them.

You’re probably hearing about all these new names of friends you’ve never met or, equally, you might be worried you’re not hearing of any new names or friends.

It’s an awkward position. You need to be involved and help your child make friends without coming across as too pushy, which will inevitably turn them off talking to anyone at all.

Don’t worry. All a child needs to make a new friend is a smile, an idea of what friendship is about and the ability to talk to someone naturally.

We have the top tips here on how to instil a little confidence into your young one and make it easier for them to make new friends.

It starts at home…

Kids are like sponges, they learn a lot more from us than we think they do. All it takes is for us to mutter “Sh*t” in a heavy traffic jam and next thing we hear them screaming it out in glee to a few shocked neighbours out the back. Avail of this sponge-like soaking up of words and habits and have your child see how holding doors open, saying hello and greeting people have a positive effect on people.

The school-gate gang…

Try and make friends with your son or daughter’s classmates’ parents. If you are in contact with them regularly you’ll be certain that your kid won’t be left out of any events or parties. It also means a lot to your child when they see you making an effort with their friends’ parents.

And so they begin…

September is here. Cue: an influx of party invitations on a weekly basis. Parties mean everything to kids in school. They will talk about it for the week beforehand, be too excited to sleep the night before the big day and discuss it for the week after again, a bit like any night out for us really. There will be the odd weekend your child will not be able to attend a party because of a family do or weekend away but do try and make sure they can accept and attend as many invitations as possible.

Why not try something new…

It’s great for kids to have friends in school, but it’s even better for them to have circles of friends, some from school, some from the neighbourhood and some from a new sport. Ask your son or daughter do they have any interests they want to pursue, maybe your little man is only dying to pick up the hurley, or your daughter has dreams of becoming the next Van Gogh. A new interest or hobby is a fantastic way to make new friends.

Punctuality is key…

Try to be on time, if not early, for school, parties, sports training and other events your child’s friends will be at. It means your child is more relaxed arriving, they get tense when you’re late too, and gives them a chance to socialise with friends.

Help your kid open up to new friends...

Keep in communication…

One person who sees your child non-stop for a few hours each day is the teacher, and they will understand your child’s personality and habits within days. Keep in contact with the teacher and they will let you know if your child has any problems in school, academically or socially.

Teach them yourself…

Be sure to tell your child that friendship is all about… yes, you remember, “sharing and caring”. These two words will go a long way when your child is making friends in the school yard.

Invite people over…

Ask your son or daughter if they want to invite a friend over some day during the week after school. It will mean your kid gets to spend a little one on one time with a new friend and it means you can have a quick peek at how your child interacts with other kids their age too.

Smile…

It’s the simple things that work. Let your kid know that a smile and a “please” and “thank you” will go far in life, starting in school.

Make sure you stand back...

Finally, a lot of the time a little nudge is enough. Introducing your son or daughter to a new child and saying, “This is Sean, he likes to play with cars too…” is generally enough. There is no need to join the children and try to recapture the imagination you had at that age, your own child will act more natural with his new friends if you sit back and let them play by themselves.