Some children are natural social butterflies, some children just simply aren't - and that's okay.
As parents, its only natural to worry about your little one. Especially when they’re starting school. One of my main worries was always, will they make friends?
Some children are born social butterflies and others just aren’t. So how do we help encourage them and teach them to make new friends, while not smothering them either?
Watch and Learn
First things first you need to figure out which kind of personality your little one has. Start by watching them in social situations, playdates, at the playground or at parties. Do they shy away in crowded places? Only when you know how you can help them, can you think of little tips to give them about making friends. Remember to trust your gut on this one, you know your little one better than anyone.
Lead by example
We know just how intuitive children can be. They learn by example. You can’t expect your little one to be a social butterfly if you struggle in that respect. Be mindful of how you interact with people when your little one is around and remember they are learning about the world predominantly through you.
If your little one is struggling to make friends in school or in an activity, one sure way you can help them is to arrive early. Most friendships and playing around occurs before school or an activity. If your child is on time or late every day, they’re missing out on this crucial opportunity to interact with their peers.
Give them a helping hand
Sometimes a little encouragement is all they need. As much as you can try to organise playdates or trips to the playground. As soon as they are comfortable in a situation, they will begin to thrive.
Give them praise for every little accomplishment. This could be saying hello to a little friend or playing with somebody new. Positive parenting works wonders for nervous/anxious children.
Don’t ever go down the road of comparison. Don’t compare them to their peers or their siblings. It will only make them feel bad about themselves and resent the person you are comparing them to.