My daughter is 6 years old and has been really struggling with making friends in school. At home she seems fine and gets along really well with her older brother and sister, but it seems like her comfort level around her peers isn’t the same. As a parent who grew up a bit shy even through junior high, I can relate to how she is feeling, but I’m not sure the best way to talk to my daughter and help her to build friendships. I have noticed your center deals with a lot of social and friendship programs so I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks!!
One of the most common concerns local parents and school teachers bring to us at The Commons, is how they can help children to be better friends. This applies to the shy, the outgoing, the bullies, the victims, and really all kids at all ages.
Since you have had some similar experiences in your youth – it will be encouraging for you to share that with your daughter. Normalizing how difficult it can be to make friends helps children to understand they aren’t alone.
Another suggestion is to help your children to identify “friendship qualities” and encourage them to exhibit those qualities. Recently in our winter camp, we worked with our 5-7 year olds to create a “Friendship Recipe.” During this activity the children were tasked with identifying ingredients that make up a good friend. The feedback was outstanding, with terms like compassion, honesty and consideration being highlighted. Find a way to help your child recognize what it takes to be a good friend, and continue to encourage that behavior by monitoring their day-to-day experiences. Additionally, look for as many social opportunities, outside activities and play dates to help foster platforms that encourage friendship development.