When starting kindergarten, many children face new situations, and it isn’t surprising that some kids find school rather daunting. Going to a bathroom with classmates can be stressful, the new timetable and the new building – the changes that bombard them can be challenging. The most Herculean task at that age would be for them to take the first step in engaging with other kids, each from a different background, different upbringing, different likes and dislikes. How will your child adapt to this daunting challenge?
According to a study we conducted across various schools in Bangalore, it was found that 83% of the children aged 3-6 years approach other children to make new friends, whereas 17% of children find it hard to approach and interact with people. Approaching other people in order to make friends is one of the skills that helps a child make new friends. Being able to take the first initiative to talk to people, saying hello to them is helpful in developing good social skills. Very often we hear parents saying: “My kid just stands in a corner”; “My kid is too shy, he doesn’t talk to anyone”, “My kid eats by herself during lunch… she has no friends”; such situations are heart-breaking to parents as they feel helpless.
Why some kids struggle?
- Family is the key; when it comes to social development. Thus, parents have to take the lead by modelling the right relationship skills
- Just as children learn language by hearing and imitating their parents, they also learn social techniques, such as conversing and sharing, by watching and listening to the way their parents interact
- Kids who struggle making new friends may develop low self-esteem, turn reticent and become reclusive
How can you help your child?
Here’s a parenting tip which will encourage your child to take the first few steps in making new friends. Ask your child to create a list of his/her favourite activities and with whom he/she would like to do these activities. This will motivate your child to initiate conversations with new people and establish friendships with them.
Download the Mai app to improve your child’s interpersonal skills and also assess your child’s skill in ‘Identifying people’.