From the Desk of Keith Hafner
Five Skills for Making New Friends
It hurts, doesn’t it, when your child has a hard time making friends? Some kids make friends easily; many others need some coaching.
But good news! These important social skills are easy to teach and easy to rehearse at home. Practice these simple strategies with your child:
1. Teach your child to introduce himself to as many people as possible; he might say, for example, “Hi, my name is Trevor…what’s yours?” Practice saying this with a SMILE and a HANDSHAKE!
2. Remind your child to ask questions when they’ve met somebody new, to find out what type of things their new friend is interested in. Help your child understand how to encourage their new friend to talk about their interests!
Rehearse questions like:
“So, what kind of stuff do you like to do?” and
“What did you do last weekend?”
3. It’s OK to make friends with kids who are popular, but remind your child to also look for new friends among the kids who are less popular. Watch for kids who are eating, walking, or playing alone!
4. Sometimes kids try to rush things too much in the early stages of friendship. Point out that good friendships are often developed slowly!
5. Explain to your child that EVERYBODY, at times, is shy about making new friends…encourage your child to take the initiative. Remind him that his BEST FRIENDS were once his NEW FRIENDS!
6. And, of course, the best way to HAVE a friend is to BE a friend! Remind your child to be polite, interested, helpful, and fun to be around!
Rehearse these strategies a couple of times each week, and your child will learn to make friends easily!