They provide support as kids become more independent. And they help children practice new social skills.
If your child doesn’t have many friends, here’s what you can do:
• Make sure you’re a good influence. Make friends yourself. Avoid overprotecting your child. Be open to friends your child makes.
• Watch your child with kids his age. Is he doing anything that is a turn-off to others? If so, gently talk with him about it. Be sure to include some positive comments.
• Encourage your child to participate in group activities, for example, drama, sports or volunteering.
• Let your child invite others over. For example, students might work on an assigned group project at your house. Or host a “study group” before a big test.
• Focus on one friendship. If your child doesn’t have any friends at all, try inviting one child over to watch a video. Activities that involve less interaction can put kids at ease.
• Talk with your child about his feelings. Brainstorm about ways he could make friends, including things that have worked for you in the past.
Don’t hesitate to talk with your child’s teacher about friendship problems. She may be able to help, or refer you to someone who can.
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