Social skills come more naturally to some preschoolers than others. While parents cannot make friends for their children, they can help them develop and practice social skills in order to be better at making new friends.
How does your child socialize?
Observe your child in different social situations such as at a park with strangers, in a small group of children with which they are familiar, or in large crowds. Does your child behave differently than normal in certain situations? Maybe your child has a tough time starting a conversation, or they may feel anxious when surrounded by many people. Once you can see any areas of weakness, then you can begin addressing them.
How can you help?
- Be a good role model. The way you interact with friends, neighbors, or even the checker at the grocery store can be a learning opportunity for your preschooler.
- Practice during a playdate. Have them select some toys and games to share ahead of time. Talk about what it means to be a good friend and how they will know if their guest is having a good time (smiling, laughing, playing, etc.).
- Start close to home if your child is shy or seems to struggle making friends by organizing a play date or inviting a neighbor to play in the yard. Make it exciting and rewarding to try new things and talk to new people. Inviting people over for food or to play with a new toy will hopefully encourage your preschooler to want to be social.
- Get acclimated ahead of time. If you know certain situations tend to make your child more introverted, help them prepare. When you have an upcoming play date at a park, visit the park ahead of time. If you plan to sign your child up for a sport, visit the baseball field or gymnasium before the first practice. A familiar place can make your child feel more confident.
Whether your child is a social butterfly or a lone ranger, they really only need one or two good friends at this age. Be careful not to put too much of your own social expectations on your preschooler. Everyone is different!
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Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of New Territory located in Sugar Land, Texas? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.