Giving your child the best shot at new friendships
SO THE first couple of weeks of school have gone by and now the initial excitement or apprehension your child faced is hopefully well and truly behind them.
You'll be starting to notice how your child is responding to school and if there any issues.
One common concern in the early weeks is about making friends, especially since class sizes are bigger than day care and they'll be surrounded by new faces.
Friendships also become more important as your child starts school, as it influences their self-esteem and teaches them important life skills.
How can you encourage them to develop friendships?
It's a great idea to try to encourage some extracurricular time for your child with their new friends.
A simple play date is a great idea, which also enables you to get to know the other child's parents/guardians.
One or two hours together is perfectly fine.
If you're unsure who your child is friendly with, try watching who they go to when they arrive in the classroom or playground, or you can ask their teacher.
My child is struggling to make friends
Maybe your child has been strangely quiet about making friends at school or they have flat out told you they don't have friends.
The first few weeks are daunting in a new environment, so maybe your child simply needs some encouragement.
For a start, your child might be unsure about how to introduce themselves. Encourage them to say hello and share their name with a new child.
It could also be that the other children have different interests to them. Try to encourage your child to engage even if it isn't their favourite play activity.
You could even encourage your child to be the person who brings the soccer ball to school and starts the game.
You can also still try arranging play dates, as sometimes one-on-one time away from the school environment makes it easier for children to develop friendships. Just ask your child who they would like to have over.
Be there for your child
You're still the number one influence on your child. It's your support and encouragement which will help them through friendship troubles.
If you're concerned, talk to your child and try to remember what you did as a kid to make friends. Chat to your child's classroom teacher about the issue and see if they have suggestions.
Remember there will always be ups and downs with friendships; the most important thing is that you're providing a safe and stable home.