In every class there are popular children who associate with many children and children who have less contact with their classmates. You probably remember that from your own childhood. Some children simply need more contact with peers than others. So that doesn’t have to be a big deal. If your child has few or no friends and would like to see this differently, it is important to do something with this! In this article you can read some tips for this.
TIP 1: MAKE IT NEGOTIABLE
If you feel that your child is not comfortable in the group, it is good to discuss this with your child. Avoid opening the conversation by asking which or how many friends your child has. After all, there is a good chance that it will just name some names. Instead, ask your child if they are happy with the friends they have. Would it perhaps like to have more friends? Who would it want to be friends with and why?
TIP 2: EXPLORE TOGETHER
If it has become clear in the conversation with your child that it would indeed like to have more friends, the door has been opened to explore the theme of ‘friendship’ together. What does your child understand by a friend? How do you do that, make friends? What has your child already tried and what could be other ways to make friendships? Maybe it would be nice to make a list together? For example, ask someone to join a game, ask someone to come and play, show someone something or share something. But of course there are many more possibilities!
TIP 3: TIME FOR RESEARCH
For children for whom making and maintaining social contacts does not come naturally, it can be very instructive to observe how other children approach this. When your list of ways to make friends (see tip 2) is complete, you could agree with your child that he will secretly watch how other children approach this at school and at the sports club. How do they ask children to participate or to participate themselves? How do they make play dates? Discuss what your child saw and add any new ideas to your list.
TIP 4: PRACTICE WITH RESILIENCE
Our appearance and attitude strongly influence the impression we leave on others. You can make use of that knowledge by practicing with your child to adopt a firm posture. You do this, for example, by standing up straight with your shoulders back, looking at the other person and speaking clearly audibly. You can also let your child experience this for themselves by testing out the effect of different attitudes (insecure, firm, aggressive) on yourself and others in a role play or familiar environment.
>> Read also: Increase the resilience of your child using Rock and Water
TIP 5: MAKE AN ACTION PLAN
Make a list of all classmates and ask your child who they would like to have more contact with and why. Does your child name the most popular child? Or from another child who, like him/her, doesn’t have as much connection? Choose together who your child will approach that week to try one of the “friendship-making ways” from your list. As a parent, keep an eye out that your child doesn’t want to try the most difficult way on the most popular child! Ask your child which classmate they feel most comfortable with trying out the chosen action. Perhaps it is good to also involve the teacher in your action plan?
TIP 6: LET YOUR CHILD EXERCISE IN A NEW ENVIRONMENT
For children who are somewhat less socially skilled, it can be more difficult to experiment with new behavior in the same environment. As loud as it sounds; in a class the social ‘ranking’ is already established and is often difficult to break. In a new group it is easier for your child – with a clean slate and new skills – to acquire a place in the group. This can be at a club or association, for example, but children can also practice making new social contacts on holiday. The experiences and self-confidence that your child gains here can also help your child in the school situation.