Monday, 2 February 2015

  Creating social butterflies is not an easy task!

Since starting school, our eldest daughter has been trying to find her feet with all the children she encounters. Having been to Preschool beforehand, she had established some friendships which have continued in school, but all of a sudden the whole social aspect of her life has taken a great shift.

Now friendships are extremely important to her day to day school experience. She wants to be playing with the stronger characters, but is not always sure that how they play is how you are supposed to act or not quite what she wants to do. The term "I'm not your best friend" comes into play frequently as does whether or not you get to go to parties!

When watching her in party situations, we found that she desperately wants to be with the stronger characters who are outgoing, funny and maybe a bit on the naughty side. She follows them trying to be part of it all, but not knowing how or just not being acknowledged. And this is the issue a couple of us parents were discussing in the playground today. Just how do you help your child to develop socially without them becoming a follower getting lost in the background or following activities which they really don't want to?

A lot of this learning experience is trial and error for the child themselves. They need to begin to recognise how to deal with friendships and social situations, but that is not to say that adult interaction in these situations are not needed! I always explain to our daughter that she does not have to play what everyone else is if she thinks it is wrong or she doesn't like it. It is alright to find someone else to play with if someone "won't be your friend" or even to play on your own. This is something our daughter does not like to do when at school, so I remind her how nicely she plays alone at home and that if she looks like she is having fun, others will want to join in too.

It is so difficult to find your feet in social situations as a child. In fact, I still struggle to find my feet sometimes when in new situations. It is not always easy for children to read one another all the time or to understand how their actions can hurt one another emotionally. As parents and practitioners in these situations, it is our job to mediate and lead them on the right path with their social interactions.

How do you help these situations? Please share your ideas!s

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