Some children are naturally more socially inclined than others, unphased when it comes to jumping into new social situations. Other children are shy and find it more of a challenge to make new friends, often preferring to spend time alone. However, social skills are a crucial part of life and while there’s nothing wrong with wanting some alone time and enjoying your own company, it’s important that every child is confident enough to build and maintain relationships, particularly as they start school. So, if you’re starting to worry that your child doesn’t have enough friends, or even any at all, there are various things you can do to help. Here are some tips from a prep school in Hertfordshire.
When teaching your child something new or helping them with an important life lesson, the best thing you can do is be a great role model. The same applies when it comes to equipping your child with the best possible social skills. The way that you interact and communicate with others, in terms of both the words you say and your body language, is likely to be replicated by your child as they grow up. With that in mind, try to consider your behaviour around your youngster. Always demonstrate good manners and refrain from making crude jokes. Show your child that listening skills are just as important as talking and healthy conversations are established when both parties are able to express their thoughts and opinions respectfully. It might help to practise some basic communications skills with your child, such as how to start a conversation or how to react when someone is upset or angry.
As well as surrounding your child with your own social interactions from a young age, it might also be a good idea to encourage them to join some extra-curricular activities. By joining a club, your child will meet other children who share similar interests to them, meaning there’ll have plenty in common that they can talk about. This, along with the many skills they’ll learn during the sessions, will help them to become more confident, and confidence is key when making friends. If an extra-curricular activity isn’t an option, try encouraging playdates at home instead, so that your child is able to socialise in a safe and familiar setting.
Avoid comparing your child to their siblings or other students, because this will affect their self-esteem and they will then find social situations challenging. Instead, praise them as often as possible and remind them that you support them no matter what. They might not be the most popular kid in the class, but as long as they seem happy, healthy and well-adjusted, it’s unlikely you have anything to worry about. If you do have genuine concerns though, don’t be afraid to contact your child’s teacher so that they can help resolve the situation as best they can. After all, you share the common goal of wanting the best for your child.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.