How to help your child make and keep friends

Small children between the ages of 3 and 6 often find it easy to make friends. Past this age, it gets harder for some children to make friends. This is because elementary school kids start being more self-aware. Common interests, social class, and family background dictate whether your child is “acceptable” to a certain clique or to be friends with other kids. This is especially true in the school environment. A parent then ends up worried sick seeing the child come home from school disappointed and in low spirits because she/he does not have any friends.

As a parent or guardian, seeing your child happy is paramount. However, many parents do not know how to help in such a situation. She/he cannot fix and force a friendship. However, these techniques work in helping your child make friends.

  1. Understand the situation

Getting a deeper understanding of why your child has no friends will give you a broader insight on how best to help. Some elementary school kids may need help in developing their social skills. Natural shyness is normal for children. For some, it may be worse especially if the family has a trend of moving homes. Children whose family is always on the move often don’t get to know other kids in school or in the neighborhood long enough to form a solid friendship. With a better understanding of such a situation, you can know how best to help.

  1. Create a wonderful friendship between the two of you first

Being your child’s close friend creates trust and good rapport. Your child will feel freer to talk to you and give you further information on why she/he is having trouble making friends. Friendships create an atmosphere to bond. When bonding, you as the parent have a role to play by listening. Being keen to your child’s story of how his/her day went will tell you more on what the problem seems to be. Nonverbal cues will also help you pick up things your child is perhaps not telling you.

  1. Nurture your child’s social skills

Creating play dates, and practicing to say hello are some of the baby steps parents can take in boosting their child’s social skills. Shy children feel most comfortable at home. Small play dates at home with you will put the child at ease after a lonely day in school. It gives the child a break as she/he tries to work it out on their own.

  1. Expose them to social scenarios

If you have just moved to a new neighborhood, introducing yourself to the next-door neighbor is one way to go. If you’re lucky, your neighbor might have a child too. As the grown-ups develop a friendship, it trickles down to the children too. Also, make it a habit to take your child to public parks where she/he plays among other kids. It won’t take long before the child finds common ground (the fun) with the other kids.

  1. Involve the teachers and coaches

Filling the teacher in on what your child is going through in school (having no friends) will help. Teachers spend a lot of time with children in school. They know how best to handle and encourage friendships in school, even if your child is extremely shy. In fact, they are better trained at how to encourage children’s development. So get them involved.  There may be another child in the class having the same problem.  Perhaps the teacher could encourage a friendship.

  1. Get professional help

If your child is not developing the skills to be able to initiate conversations or maintain a friendship, don’t just wait for them to “grow out of it”, they might not, get professional help. It is a reality that some children lack the skills commonly known as the “hidden curriculum”. The “hidden curriculum” skills manifest themselves as the intuitive way we just figure out how to perform in social situations, often by observing and mimicking others. If your child does not pick up on the skills their siblings or peers do pick up on they may need professional help. Don’t wait, the earlier the better.

At the Support for Students Growth Center in Boca Raton, Florida we offer many social, behavioral, academic, and developmental services for children, teens, young adults and their families including 11 different social skills groups weekly for young people ages 4 well into adulthood. Call us, we may be able to help.

Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D. Cert. Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and Associates

For more information about Dr. Nach’s Online Resources and how to enroll, visit our website at:

Nurture Your Childs’ Confidence

Children learn things at an incredible rate when growing up. Their main sources of learning are usually their surroundings, and what they see, they tend to pick up quickly. One of the best qualities to have as a child is confidence. The ability to trust in themselves and what they can do, while at the same time accepting failure, is a recipe for them to thrive.

Here are some of the ways that you can nurture your children to turn into confident young adults:

  1. Accept them at their mistakes

Accepting that everyone makes mistakes is one of the best ways to show your children how to be confident. Confidence does not come from not making mistakes, but from learning from those mistakes and becoming a better person.

  1. Be confident in yourself

You are always your child’s first point of reference and being confident will definitely transfer to them. When your children see you tackle things with optimism and preparation will influence them positively. This does not mean that you should act like everything is perfect; you can acknowledge anxiety, but don’t dwell on it. Focus on the positive.

  1. Encourage them to try new things

Encourage your children to try out new things. Once your child already excels at something, it is time to encourage them to diversify and try something else. Attaining a new skill can fill you with the confidence to try out something else or face anything that comes your way.

  1. Allow them to fail

Children learn things through trial and error. In as much as it is natural to try and shield your kids from failure, this is a destructive approach. It stifles both their personal growth and their confidence. The best approach is to teach your child that falling short is not the end of the world. It will motivate your kids to put greater effort.

  1. Help your child to find their passion

Passions are a great way to channel your inner confidence. You are at your most confident when you are doing something you love. Passions also are also good for instilling a sense of identity. Helping your child grow their talents is an amazing way of giving them a huge boost in their confidence.

  1. Set goals

Setting your goals, whether large or small, then going ahead to achieve them makes anyone feel empowered. It also encourages the pursuit of bigger goals. You can help your child make a list of goals and to accomplish them. This will boost their self-confidence in a huge way. You should also help them break down long-term goals into more realistic benchmarks.

  1. Encourage perseverance

Teach your children not to give up at the first sign of failure. They need to learn that it is not all about succeeding, and failure is not the end of the world. Praise them when they go through challenges and when they persevere through a problem.

  1. Celebrate effort

While you have to praise your kids for their accomplishments, it is important to praise effort regardless of the outcome. Praising them for their hard work will help them gain confidence in accomplishing new and bigger things. It will also encourage them to venture into new endeavors.

  1. Show them love

Letting your children know that you love them no matter what, win or lose, bolsters self-confidence. When you let your children know that you think they are great even when you are upset, it fosters an unshakable sense of self-belief.

  1. Teach then to embrace imperfection

As adults, we know that the world is not perfect. Most of the perfection peddled by TV, magazines, blogs, and social media makes it look like everyone is happy. But we all know that that is just a myth. It is important that children understand this message early enough so that it does not interfere with their confidence later on. Let them know that imperfection is to be expected.

Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D. Cert. Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and Associates

For more information about Dr. Nach’s Online Resources and how to enroll in our online lessons, visit our website at: