International Friendship Day
Today is International Friendship Day!
Learning how to make friends and how to be a good friend are important skills for our children to develop. You are your child’s best role model. The way you interact with your little one will help them learn and grow.
Here are some tips and tricks to help build your child’s social skills:
- Be mindful of their unique temperament and personality. Some children are active and spirited and don’t hesitate to get to know new people. Other children may need some time to warm up and feel less shy. There is no such thing as a bad temperament. Getting to know what comes easy or what is challenging for your child in social situations will help you determine how to support them.
- Talk about what makes a good friend – If you’re reading a story or watching a TV show together, you can notice out loud what one of the characters is doing. “Gossie shared his boots with the other gosling. She was a kind friend!” Ask your kiddo what they like about their friends.
- Coach your child to build their empathy and social skills. For example, if a classmate is coming over to play, you can ask your child what they think will help their friend feel welcome and have fun. Model empathy by acknowledging your child’s feelings: “It looks like you are angry at your brother. He took your toy while you were still playing with it.” Talk about your own: “Mommy was feeling sad. I lay down for a few minutes and I feel better now.”
- Help your child cast a wide net where they have multiple opportunities to meet people and make friends – sports teams, after school activities or clubs for specific interests allow your child the chance to meet other children who share their interests, or strengthen relationships with school friends.
- Trouble-shoot and problem solve. If your child had a disagreement with a friend, talk about it! Help them problem-solve what they can do differently next time, and allow them to process their feelings with you. “What can you tell Lucy next time you want play another game?” “It didn’t feel great when Ollie said your shirt was silly, huh?”
Friendships are important! They help our children develop a sense of belonging and build their self-esteem. Even as your child’s social world grows, they will still need their relationship with you to help them feel safe, process their feelings and learn how to interact with others.