Starting a new school and making new friends is always a challenging time for children. Some children are naturally sociable and soon pair up with classmates, while others suffer from shyness and take slightly longer to form friendships.
If you are concerned that your child is finding it hard to make friends, here is some helpful advice from Cokethorpe School on how to help your child develop their social skills…
- Starting conversations with new people can be hard for adults, as well as children. To help your child overcome their nerves, it is useful to teach them some simple conversation starters. Practice a few phrases with your child, such as 'I like your top,’ or 'do you like football?'. This can give your child the confidence to approach other children in the playground.
- A great way for your child to get to know their classmates and make friends is by arranging a playdate with some of the parents. You can either meet at a local park, or invite them over to your house. By inviting their class mates to your home, your child can get to know them in a familiar setting, where they may feel more relaxed and confident.
- Be a good role model for your child by demonstrating good social skills daily. Talk to other parents and say hello to teachers. Teach your child the importance of being kind and considerate, and always use good manners. It is also useful to demonstrate how to hold a conversation. Let your child know if he or she is interrupting and remind them to listen and make eye contact when others are speaking.
- Where possible, try to take a step back and allow your child to work out issues alone. Disputes with friends are common at school and learning how to resolve these issues is an important part of developing their social skills.
- Finally, another great way to help your child socialise is by encouraging them to take part in extra-curricular activities. These provide an ideal opportunity for meeting other children with similar interests. Youth clubs or sporting activities can also help to give your child’s confidence a boost.