Playing with friends is very important as a young child – this is the time children are learning social skills that will last a lifetime. This includes sharing; taking turns, empathy, in addition to that fact that playing with friends is just plain fun.
As a parent try these tips to help your little one adjust to new friends:
- Set aside some time to play with your child each day so they look forward to playing in a group activity.
- Host a play-date with a few friends, possibly from school. Have activities planned out and be sure to keep it shorter- perhaps an hour or so. Too long and it could overwhelm your little one which could be counterproductive.
- At home, create a “Circle Time” with your family and get everyone involved. Watch your child open up after you model a group activity that they learned from school. (Even get the pet involved if they are willing…. We have a lazy cat that’s always ready, willing and able to lay on command – he rounds out our family circle quite well.)
- Be realistic, if your child is shy it could take some time to warm up to friends.
- Ask your child’s teacher for tips – they might have some great suggestions since they have the privilege to spend time with your little one throughout the day.
- Next time you are at the doctor, ask your pediatrician for suggestions. They are an excellent resource as they understand most aspects of childhood development.
- Above all, Mom & Dad… be patient and keep smiling… you’re doing a great job.