Student Care – Meeting new people and making new friends with peers might seem like a very easy, natural thing for our young children, however there are numerous skills involved in building friendships, and Student Care teachers and parents alike can play an important role in helping to develop these abilities.
How can we help our little ones to not just build initial friendships, but also sustain these relationships for a long time? Let’s take a good look at some simple tips to help your child build steady friendships for life:
Show your child lots of love and respect
In many Asian cultures, we still have parents who believe in ‘tough love’ – where a certain type of discipline is heavily instilled in children through corporal punishment such as caning etc. Employing such authoritarian methods can have a tremendous psychological impact on your child that could stay well into their adulthood.
A sounder, more effective strategy is to utilise positive discipline methods such as helping your child to understand the need for certain rules to be implemented, positive reinforcement when they do accomplish something or complete a chore such as finishing their homework on time or helping around the home, etc. A more empathetic approach not only allows your child to blossom into a happier, more sociable person – it also equips them with excellent people skills that can help build positive relationships.
Help your child navigate awkward social situations
When it comes time for your child to interact with their peers in a social environment (especially if for the first time or in a completely new space), it can become quite awkward for some. To help mitigate your child’s discomfort or anxiety in these situations, you could re-enact a typical scenario at school with your child.
For example, if it’s set during recess, have your child observe what the other children are doing and how can they fit in comfortably without feeling forced; teach your child to avoid being disruptive or critical, and if another child does not feel like interacting with your child, tell them not to worry and try making friends with others.
Teach your child about forgiveness and making amends
As the old adage goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine”. Likewise, children are bound to make mistakes and as parents or student care teachers, we forgive them and allow them to make amends for what they did.
If your child is made to constantly dwell on their prior mistakes, they might grow resentful and angry. It is important to show them what it means to forgive others and be forgiven for their mistakes as opposed to being shamed or humiliated. Teach your child to take ownership for what they did wrong and allow them to apologise for their mistakes, however never let them feel victimised or ridiculed in the process.
Encourage cooperation not competition
Many children grow up being taught that being highly competitive and striving to be the cream of the crop was all for the sake of “character growth”. Well, that mindset has been thankfully diluted in this day and age! While there’s nothing wrong with healthy competition among children and striving to do and be their best, nothing helps them bond and get closer than a dollop of learning through cooperation!
Try this example: if your child has a play date with some friends from school, remove any toys and games that might cause needless conflict among them. If your child has any prized possessions that might make their friends jealous, it’s best to keep those items out of sight until their friends have left. Alternatively, introduce some activities where cooperation is the focal point, such as baking delicious treats together or collaborating on an art project .
H/T: Parenting Science
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