Making and keeping friends can be a challenge at all ages. For many, it's worse seeing your child struggle friendless than it is to be friendless yourself. There are a few things you can do to help your child prepare and meet new friends:
Teach friendship skills
Before having a friend you must first know how to be a good friend. Friendship skills such as sharing, listening, and taking turns are important skills your child will need to have to become a good friend as well as to have one. Begin by teaching your child how to have a conversation with another child. How they should give and take and listen to others and share appropriately. This gift of conversation might also include how to approach someone new, introduce himself, and how to find out if they have similar interests. To be a good friend, it's also important to learn how to share and take turns when playing. When small children play, you can often see them playing side by side without interacting. As a child gets older, it is important to teach them how to play and interact with other children. The most important part of this play is learning how to share toys, take turns at games, and work together to accomplish a goal.
Create friend play environments for your child
When children are young, parents often set up play dates. These play dates can continue for many years even if they are no longer called play dates. Creating a positive environment for your child and a friend to play and spend time together is important. It allows your child to feel comfortable while also inviting someone new into their space. Friendship and play opportunities can also include educational and homework opportunities. Allowing your child to have a place where they know they can bring a new friend is important to helping them to establish that relationship.
Encourage your child to join teams, groups, and extracurricular activities
Encouraging your child to join a new group allows them to meet a variety of new people from different areas. These other children will also have different ideas and experiences from which your child will benefit. Allowing your child to meet as many new children as possible in a variety of experiences allows them the best opportunity to meet and make new friends. Not only does an extra activity allow for new friends it also allows your child to gain new experiences, learn new skills, and grow in their abilities.
Whether your child is worried about making new friends or just wants to have more, your encouragement can be beneficial in them being a good friend as well as making new ones. If you are a positive role model on how to make and keep friends your child will be, as well. The most important thing to remember is that even after making friends, it takes being a friend to keep a friend. If you can teach your child the important skills of being a friend, even with just one friend, she'll have a fulfilled friend relationship.