Q&A: Making friends at schoolWritten by Focus on the Family Canada
Question: Recently my somewhat shy daughter has been saying she has no one to play with at recess. She is clearly upset about this and I want to help her out, but I’m not sure what to do. What would you suggest?
A lot of learning at school occurs outside of actual academic learning! Children learn social norms, how to make friends, how to manage conflict, how to interact with those in authority etc. Let your daughter know that God understands her hurt or loneliness, and that He created all of us to want friends and companionship. Also let your daughter know that there are practical skills involved in making and maintaining friends.
Talk to her about things we can do to help us to make new friends. These can include asking others about a common interest, having a smile on your face, acting friendly even when you feel scared inside, having courage to ask to join in a game others are playing. Other strategies include asking someone who sits near her in class if she can play with them at recess.
As a parent, there are some things you can do as well. Open your home and be willing to have a playdate so that your daughter can connect with someone outside of class. Also consider contacting her teacher for input: ask if there is something your daughter may be doing that is off-putting to others, or if the teacher has any insights on whom your daughter could connect with.
In the meantime, she is probably feeling vulnerable and perhaps questioning herself. Take time to offer extra reassurance and comfort, remind her of her inherent value as God’s child and encourage her in the gifts God has given her.
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