Toddlers and preschoolers' social skills come in different flavors. Some kids make friends quickly while it takes other kids a little bit of time. Bossy and mean kids tend to have a tougher time than kids who are open and friendly, according to the University of Georgia. Teaching kids to cultivate healthful social habits can help them make friends more easily instead of having other kids avoid them like the plague.
1. Teaching Kindness
Some kids have learned to be mean for whatever reason, but they can just as easily learn to be nice to others. Nice children tend to be more well-liked among their peers. Teach your child to share with others, be polite and demonstrate other acts of kindness. Model this behavior yourself and you can also use books and movies to assist with showing your kids kind behavior. If your child demonstrates a lack of kindness toward you, be creative and try being really dramatic about how hurtful his treatment was for you to drive the kindness lesson home.
Nice kids aren't necessarily fair kids, so try to teach your child how to be fair to others. Again, you can use drama to really spice up this lesson by demonstrating to your child what it might feel like if someone was being unfair to him during play. Try to use everyday occurrences to teach this lesson, such as teaching your child how to divide time evenly between her and a friend if they have to share a swing. You can also use this time to remind your child that she could have more friends if she really learned how to be fair with others.
3. Compromise and Cooperation
Your child does not have to be that kid that others run away from if he learns how to compromise. A way to explain compromise to your child is to say that when two people don't agree on something they can use a compromise as a way to make both people happy. Trying to make both people happy is a way to show cooperation between two people. You can create a scenario where your child could potentially need to compromise with another child such as deciding on which games to play. You could teach your child that showing kindness to her friend by playing the game that the friend chooses first is an effective way to use compromise and show cooperation. You could also suggest that it's a fine way to receive a reward for using that skill, too.
4. Shared Interests
Your child is likely to have a better opportunity to develop friendships with children who share your little one's interests. Wonder why your athletic daughter doesn't really connect with the girls who like to play with pretty dolls? Perhaps she needs to be around little girls that throw footballs and climb trees. Ask your child what she likes to do to determine the best social match. This could make a significant difference in your child's ability to make friends.
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