Fostering connections and making friends can be tough at any age, but for children, in particular, it can be quite the challenge. If your kid is struggling, as their parent, there are steps you can take to make it easier for them. Here’s how to help your child make friends in a healthy, productive manner.
Join an art program
For children who are shy, but show an incredible spark of creativity, art classes are the perfect way to get them out of their shell. There are many reasons why art programs are beneficial, and that includes creating a community. This will be an environment in which kids can feel comfortable to express themselves and get to know one another.
Practice conversations at home
One way to help your child make friends is to practice those conversations in the comfort of your own home. Having conversations can be hard for a lot of kids, so mitigate that anxiety by practicing with them at home. Whether it’s roleplaying the first day of school or practicing how to start up a conversation with a classmate, practice makes perfect.
Set up playdates
Striking up conversations in the moment can be hard for a lot of kids, so to help them get out of their shell, consider setting up playdates. This can be with kids from school, or maybe their neighbors, but what matters is making that first step. School or sports can be intimidating for a lot of kids, so by putting them in a calmer environment, their personality can shine through.
Find other kids with similar interests
If your child is a huge fan of a particular sport, book, or hobby, it’s in their interest to find other children who enjoy these things. Having a similar interest will allow them to have a repertoire right away and will help the conversation flow easily. Whether they join a club related to their interest or they simply reach out and ask other kids, this is a surefire way to make friends.
Foster healthy self-esteem
Is your child having a tough time making friends because they aren’t confident in themselves? If this is the underlying issue, it’s time to address their self-esteem and help foster it. Remind your child of their great qualities, including their unique talents, personality, and quirks that all come together to make them unique. Once they are more confident, they’ll find it much easier to speak up and start conversations with other kids.
Talk through their emotions
A lot of kids are simply shy and will tend to have fewer friends. There’s nothing wrong with this at all and can lead to fewer, but more meaningful, connections. If it seems like there’s more beneath the surface, however, make sure to have an open dialogue with your child. Their difficulty making friends may go beyond being an introvert and crosses into anxiety. It’s important to have an open conversation about their feelings so that they can get the help they need.