International Friendships Day : How to Raise Independent Kids and Encourage Friendship Skills and Social Play
What a magical thing is friendship! Friendships give us a sense of belonging, develop self-esteem, and nurture social skills.
When it comes to our little ones, the importance of friendships cannot be underestimated. Through friendship, they learn important life skills like getting along with others and dealing with conflicts and problems.
Alongside making friends, play is one of the best ways to teach your toddler valuable social skills. Social and interactive play helps children learn about sharing, taking turns and cooperating. It teaches them how to connect with others and make friends.
At Kinderkind, your go-to online store for stylish clothes for toddlers, we place the highest importance on the value of play. Here are our top tips for encouraging friendship skills and social play in your child.
Did you know about these unlikely friendships throughout history? Check them out!
HELLO! HOW DO YOU DO?
As adults, we think nothing of diving into a social situation with aplomb. But for our toddlers, the arena of social interaction can appear pretty tricky!
Teaching basic social skills is the first step to meaningful interaction, and subsequently, social play. Break down the social skills your kid needs help with into small, well-defined steps that can easily be implemented. Practice these skills at home, and once they’re comfortable, they can try out their skills in supervised social situations.
It's also important to talk with your kid about their own social experiences. Discuss how they feel when they are meeting new people, going on playdates, or interacting with others. This can provide useful insight into your child's abilities to make friends, their self-confidence and their social difficulties.
Your little sweetheart will love this interesting video about meeting new people:
MAKE YOUR CHILD A CONVERSATIONAL WHIZ
Non-stop chatter, sharing secrets – it’s the best part of having friends, isn’t it! And that’s where conversational skills come in.
The first step to making friends is knowing how to introduce oneself, come up with suitable things to say, and listening to others. Your kiddo also needs to learn appropriate social responses to conversation and provide feedback, so that the other person knows they’re being understood.
A great way to teach this is by modeling good communication skills ourselves, and practising having socially apt conversations with them at home. You can give them further opportunities to polish their skills by trying phone calls or video chats with friends or family members!
This excellent video talks more about active listening and effective communication for children:
COMPROMISE AND NEGOTIATION ARE KEY
When it comes to friendships or social play, conflicts are an inevitable part of our kids’ lives, are we right? And a bat over the head is probably how they would love to resolve these conflicts!
It’s good to teach children how to deal with conflicts through compromise and negotiation in order to build and maintain meaningful relationships. Your little darling should know that there are peaceful ways to resolve issues. It’s important to understand what others want, and that simply getting one’s own way may not be the best solution – compromise is also necessary.
The best way to learn these valuable life lessons is through role playing activities. Talk to your child about conflicting situations they have faced, and try to find the best resolution that will be acceptable to both sides.
Take a look at this interesting article about teaching children compromise and negotiation:
OFFERING A SYMPATHETIC EAR
What’s that one quality that makes a great friend? Yes – it’s listening!
When making friends, a great lesson for our kids is knowing the value of good listening skills and showing interest in other people. Understanding another person’s emotions and perspective is key when it comes to building strong friendships. So try helping your toddler identify ways they can show empathy toward other children.
How do you do this? Start off by teaching your little one how to understand when somebody seems to be having a tough time. Let them try to come up with ways to help. Taking time to show a person that we care is a great way to show support and open the door to friendship. Also, explain how listening to a friend can often be the best thing we can do.
Want to learn more about teaching your kid empathy? Check out this great article:
IT’S OKAY TO MESS UP SOMETIMES
Gaffes and social blunders – they can happen to anyone, even ourselves. Your toddler needs to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes – what’s important is how to deal with it.
Encourage your little one to be understanding and forgiving of other people’s mistakes. Help them consider the transgressor’s point of view, and try to think about alternative explanations for their behavior.
Explain to your child that sometimes even we can mess up too, and that it’s important to apologize or make amends if we’ve hurt or offended another person. Learning how to improve bad feelings and repair friendships is a lesson they should learn right from an early age.
This awesome video beautifully demonstrates to kids how to resolve conflicts:
As technology advances, children nowadays don't have the opportunity to romp and play like they did in the past. Therefore, as parents, it’s up to us to provide our toddlers with opportunities to build their social skills and learn through play.
You can also check out our previous blog on other key skills to teach your child at:
At Kinderkind, your favorite trendy children’s clothing brand, we firmly believe that friends are those cool people who make our lives richer, brighter, and definitely more fun!
So, let your little one play, romp, giggle, and whisper secrets – and build those solid friendships that could last a lifetime!
Sending love from Be Kind blogs. Happy reading.