Friends are an important part of every child’s life. They are sources of fun and company. Friendships help children practice and build important social skills such as sharing, conflict resolution, emotional regulation, fair play and empathy. They can also teach children how to behave in groups and work well with others.
Friendships can also help your child build their self-confidence by helping them set goals, solve problems, develop beliefs, values and ideas about the world as well as getting them to recognize their talents and strengths.
Surrounding your child with positive friendships is important. Many of the skills that children learn through healthy friendships will help them to see success at school and other social situations.
You can help your child develop healthy friendships by…
– Teaching your child how to apologize with meaning. It is one thing to say sorry, but a very different thing to say sorry sincerely. Praise your child when they apologize and seem to genuinely mean it. This will help to reinforce this behaviour.
– Teach your child ways to join in on group activities. Many children have difficulty finding ways to be included in large groups. Teach them what to say when others interrupt their activity or how to join in with others.
– Acknowledge when your child has shared, trusted others to take their turn, helped a friend solve a problem, or use their imagination to add to the fun.
– Encourage your child to play with other children and invite them to your house. Provide a safe place to play and have fun.
– Connect with others with young children. Finding families with kids that your child could become friends with is important. Introduce your child to others, but don’t force a friendship. Your child will like who they like. They have a mind if their own.
– Model the behaviours. Try and act like a “good friend” would. Being a good role model will help your child when they interact with others in their life.