[ 2006-11-20 08:49 ]
Friends become a child's chosen family. If his social
life is going well, he gains confidence. If she has trouble connecting, it hurts
and can make her feel sad and withdrawn and lonely.
1. Help your child communicate.
Kids who are naturally outgoing have an
easier time expressing their interest in other children than shy ones do. But
you can help build this skill through practice. Ask your child about her
favorite games and toys. Compliment her on specifics when she shows interest in
other people: "You were so nice to let Roger talk about his puppy. I am proud of
2. Keep play short and sweet.
Parents should keep early play dates short,
so no one gets too tired and everyone has fun. Schedule the next one soon
thereafter, so kids can quickly build on their comfort foundation.
3. Know your child.
If your child is bossy, meet on neutral turf and
agree beforehand on which toys will be shared (and which ones should be put away
because your child just can't seem to share them). If you have a shy child,
match him with a younger child so he has a chance to be the leader.
4. Help play get started.
If the kids are whiny or are having a hard time figuring
out what to do, have some fun projects ready to go. Coloring, sculpting, blowing
bubbles--these are great ways to get things humming or restore harmony.
5. Help your kids help others.
Encourage your child to be a better friend
by helping him include others in play. If you see someone being excluded, don't
ignore it. This is an opportunity to work on your child's empathy skills.
"Rachel is being left out. That must make her feel very sad. Can you think of a
way to include her in the game?"
6. Help your kids help themselves.
If your child is the one who's being
left out or treated badly, teach her to speak up.