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Socializing with Peers
As a mom of 2 and a teacher, back to school can be a very scary time. Let’s face it, the kids have been out of the classroom all summer and have either forgotten a majority of what they learned the previous year or are still in summer vacation mode and simply don’t care to remember it 🙂
What may be even scarier than the kids’ motivation (or lack thereof) to learn is the issue of socializing and fitting in. No one wants their child to be “that” kid on the playground. You know, the one sitting under a tree by himself humming while all the other kids run around playing (or worse…teasing him) together.
As a parent, we want to be there every step of the way guiding our kids on what to say and do to be accepted, but the simple fact is we can’t always be there. Furthermore, socialization and peer-acceptance are a normal part of growing up and something our children must master on their own.
So, while we can’t be there with our kids on the first day of school, we can certainly give them a few pointers beforehand. Below are a few simple things you can do as a parent to help your child to fit in just fine this school year:
- Compliment other kids
Like adults, kids love to be complimented!!! From their light-up shoes to their cool new superhero shirt, complimenting another kid is a great way for your child to spark up a conversation and possibly make a new friend.
- Encourage socialization
Next time you take your child to the park or a kid-like setting, encourage them to play with other kids. It is easy for them to get stuck playing with mom or dad or even a sibling, but instead tell them to go over and ask that energetic acrobat if they can join them on the monkey bars or even the other end of the see-saw. This way when they’re at school they’ll already feel more comfortable approaching their peers.
3.Connect with kids beforehand
Who said you had to wait until the 1st day of school to make friends? Gone are the days where kids actually have to wait all summer long to meet their schoolmates. As an entering kindergarten, my son was able to connect with several children from his school throughout the summer. The school PTA organized various playdates for incoming and current students to socialize before the year began, and while there is no telling whether they’ll become lifelong friends or even in the same class, I know my son is entering kindergarten feeling more comfortable and confident than he did prior to the playdates. It was also a great way for the parents to mingle with one another and get more information about the school.
- Sharing with other kids
Even if your child is the most awkward and unsociable kid, everyone loves a sharer. A simple gesture of sharing their toy for a few minutes or offering their favorite snack (assuming the child has no allergies) goes a long way in the land of kids.
The bottom line is there is no sure way to be accepted or make friends (even in the adult world), but there certainly is an art to fitting in. So, the next time you’re up late fretting over whether your little one will make friends at school the next day, remember these tips, and as always trust that because your child is the amazing kid they are, other kids will see this and gladly embrace them as you do 🙂