Peer relationships are key to a child’s development, helping them grow social skills that are fundamental for their whole lives.
If your child is struggling to make friends, watch how they behave in social settings. What, specifically, are they struggling with? Perhaps it’s a loud, chaotic setting that is overstimulating. Maybe they sit on the sidelines because they feel uncomfortable with an activity they do not understand.
You can’t force your child into friendships, but you can make the setting better. Set them up for success by knowing what brings out their best: It might be a small, backyard gathering with no organized activity. Or perhaps they thrive in a sport with skills and rules you can practice together at home and model sportsmanship.
Helping your child gain confidence to start conversations, or even just say “Hi,” makes a difference. Smiling at others, playing fair, being a listener and laughing easily are all traits that attract more friendships. Model these behaviors in your own relationships. Your children are watching and taking cues from how you interact with your peers.
Your child doesn’t need tons of friends. Numerous superficial friendships are less enriching than a few solid, good ones — and with some luck and effort, they can last a lifetime.
Brought to you by:
Santiam Christian Elementary Principal
santiamchristian.org 541-745-5524 x 243