#FriendsForever! The first day of school is difficult even if the child involved has been with the same classmates for years. They will need to get used to a new classroom, new teacher and sometimes even new friends. Lots of changes happen in the 3 months between grades, some classmates that seemed familiar before the summer break, may not be so familiar after.
Same Kids, Different Year
When it comes to the socialization of children in school it can be difficult because people are evolutionarily geared to notice differences. These differences are what make us individuals, but they are also problematic when it comes to making new friends especially around elementary school age.
Here are a few ways to help your young students navigate the friend zone and be successful socializers.
SHARE From an early age, children are taught to share. Some children understand this lesson innately, while others take some coaxing and gentle reminders not to steal other children's toys. Talking to your child about making friends at school begins with the earliest lessons they are taught.
BE OPEN One issue that many children have is shyness. This affliction can follow someone throughout life if they are not given a safe atmosphere to practice openness to begin with. Encourage your child to tell you about what is important to them, what they have done during the day no matter how mundane. Friendship, elementary level, is about learning that what you have to say has value and other people want to hear and share equally between their friends.
CARE This may be the cornerstone of friendship and the way to garner more friends. Socialization of children in school starts here also. It is not enough that your child cares about you only, they must be taught to care about and be kind to others also. There always those friendships that form due to dominance or fear, but they are not real lasting relationships. A true friendship forms because the two people have an honest care for one another.
SUPPORT For the most part, parents teach children by example. Those little eyes are always on you, and your interactions, even though you think they are not paying any attention. If you show support for your spouse, friends and others they will learn by example and get an important lesson ingrained in the most natural way.
Friendship elementary level is not just about making friends when you are young and on the playground. These are definite life lessons. Many children will have difficulties making and keeping friends, but they need to understand how, and to be able to talk to you when they have had difficulty with the process. A friend always lends a kind ear. Be a friend to your child and they will understand how to be to each other.