Helping your child make friends and socialize at school can be somewhat challenging, particularly if you have a child with special needs or if your child has an introverted personality. If your child is an only child, it can be more difficult for her to socialize with other children. Only children often seem more comfortable interacting with adults or younger children than with peers. Even if your child has siblings, she may still be reluctant to engage in social interaction. There are some steps you can take to help your child socialize at school and develop meaningful friendships.
Encourage your child to join a school music ensemble, if she shows an interest in playing an instrument. Music is a productive and fun way for children with similar interests to meet, and there are numerous benefits of learning to play an instrument. According to an article by the BBC, “learning a musical instrument can boost a child's confidence and learning in other areas.” Children who play an instrument have many opportunities for socialization, such as by playing together in a school marching band or in a pit orchestra for a school play.
Ask your child if she would like to join a school sports team. Playing intramural school sports is a great way for children to get exercise and fresh air, and it provides a means of interaction for children in the same school who may not necessarily be in the same class. Sports can also provide valuable lessons in teamwork, communication and cooperation, which are important skills that your child can incorporate into other social situations. An article by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry points out that being a member of a team sport can also provide your child with a feeling of belonging, which can also lead to feelings of increased self-esteem.
Talk to your child's teacher to see if she is experiencing any difficulties with other children. If your child is exhibiting antisocial or disruptive behavior, this can create social and academic problems. Likewise, your child may be socially withdrawn due to bullying. These are issues that your child's teacher or a school counselor can bring to your attention. See if there are any factors that you may not be aware of, which you can address at home with your child. Talk to your child about issues such as bullying, which may interfere with her social development at school. Once your child feels heard and understood, you can then work with teachers, counselors and your youngster to create a plan to stop the bullying or the disruptive and antisocial behavior.
Role play with your child to make her feel more comfortable interacting with classmates. Brainstorm a few situations that arise for your youngster and then work through them by role playing common scenarios and possible solutions.