The summer is a great time for children to make new friends. With more time on their hands and tons of available activities, children can easily be brought together to find and build lasting friendships. As you enter into this season of opportunity, you should have a conversation with your child about friendship. Talk to them about why friends are important and what being a good friend means. To help them understand better you could even ask them about the qualities they want in a friend including honestly, kindness, respect and a sense of humor.
As you discuss friendship, having a two-way conversation will help you child learn how to hold a conversation successfully. They shouldn’t just be able to listen but be able to interact as well. Constructive criticism can help them learn to think and express ideas clearly, ask questions and provide insightful responses. Through interactions between your child and yourself, siblings and other family members they will be able to improve their communication skills before being bombarded with other children over the summer. Since this is a teach exercise remember to always encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior for example cutting you off while talking or walking away in the middle of a conversation.
When you feel that you child has a good handle on both the idea of friendship and communicating with others, you can help them by putting them in situation with other children. The summer is the perfect time for this due to all the activities they can participate in. Day camps, clubs, nightly activities and many more happen all the time in cities and neighborhoods across the country. Young girls might do well in summer dance lessons, while younger boys can benefit from a day camp that’s full of sport lessons and practices. Since the children participating in these activities like them, there is a shared interest between all of the children making friendship even easier.
Outside of organized activities you can also take your child or children to places where there are sure to be peers their age. The local park is a great place to start. You can sit back on a bench reading while your child can explore and meet other children from the area. You are always within reach if they need you but can give them space to interact one-on-one with another child. Other great places for spontaneous friendships include the zoo, waterpark and theme park. Enjoying similar animals or activities can be a small spark that leads to a great childhood friendship.
Friendship is crucial to the successful development of a child. Their social, communication and interpersonal skills can all improve when children are surrounded by their peers and have long lasting friendships. Encouraging your children to make friends can be one of the best things you do for their confidence and personality. With your support, your children can make a lot of friends this summer and build potentially yearlong friendships.