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How to Help Your Kids Make Friends at School

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The school year is still pretty new, but some kids have a tough time making friends. Here are a few ways you can help them out. 

My mother always told me that the only way to have friends is to be one. That means don’t whine, don’t hit and share your toys.

If they’re young, you can teach them friendly body language. Stand them in front of a full length mirror and have them make faces. Happy, sad, scared, angry and surprised. When they’re making faces, provided no one bursts into a giggle fit, tell them about the differences in the faces. One child psychologist says that “When a child can see what they look like when they’re dealing with different emotions, it registers in their brain and they’re able to recognize non verbal cues.” They become better at interacting with other kids that way and can get a better handle on what they’re projecting.

Have them meet other kids outside of their school. Make a play date with kids who don’t go to their school, have your kids in activities and clubs so they interact with other children and have a wider circle of friends. Plus, if the parents are there, they can help their kids break the ice with other children. I was in Campfire Girls, Girl Scouts and swimming lessons and we had camps. I met kids from other schools and different cities and when I got to junior high, I already had a wider circle of friends because of the activities I was in. It’s also a good way to make friends with the parents, too.

Kids learn social skills by watching their parents, so if your child sees you talking to other adults, they may be more likely to talk to other kids. It also helps when your kid wants to spend the night at someone’s house because you already know the parents, so there’s no question about what sort of environment they’re going to be spending time in.

Don’t try and force it, though. If your child doesn’t make friends right away, it may be because they’re shy. Making friends takes time. Not every child can or wants to hold court by the toy box. (NEVER happened.) If your child is more on the shy side and they have one good friend, that could lead to more friends down the road.

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