Creative Child

Helping Kids Make Friends at Any Age

by Sarah Lyons

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Encourage healthy conflict resolution

All friends experience conflict. What is important is how you handle it. Door slamming, stomping feet, the silent treatment, yelling, and hitting may release anger at the moment but can be damaging to a friendship. As kids mature, it is important to encourage them to talk about their feelings, come up with a solution, or ask an adult to help. As much as possible, have the kids work out their conflict. However,being available to help them come to a resolution both friends can live with is important. 

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Be social

One easy way to encourage your kids to make friends is to provide them the opportunities to socialize. Allow your kids to invite friends over to play or to meet at a park. Hosting a playdate that encourages mutual interests helps build friendships as well. If your child is interested in animals, invite a friend with mutual interests to meet you at the zoo. Sports and extracurricular activities are another great place to find friends with mutual interests. “Helping them say hello to other kids at parks and school events helps.” says Loux. “I also make an effort to go to all class birthday parties so they have more time with friends.” Simply being around other people helps your child build social skills and make friends.

It is important to remember that everyone has a different personality which will affect how they react in social situations. Some children love to be the center of attention and thrive off of being around others. Other children may be more reserved and shy. They may enjoy being around other people but prefer to sit back and observe the situation. Remember that  it’s important to cultivate your child’s social skills based on what they feel the most comfortable with, even if that is different from your own. It is also important to remember that your child does not need to be the most popular person in the class, they really only need one or two close friends to feel accepted and connected to their peers.

 

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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