Friendship Skills for Children

A number of studies in recent decades have shown that appearance, personality type and ability impact on a child’s popularity at school. Good-looking, easy-going, talented kids usually win peer popularity polls but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will have friends. Those children and young people who develop strong friendships have a definite set of skills that help make them easy to like, easy to relate to and easy to play with.

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1. Ability to share possessions and space
2. Keeping confidences and secrets
3. Offering to help
4. Accepting other’s mistakes
5. Being positive and enthusiastic
6. Starting a conversation
7. Winning and losing well
8. Listening to others
9. Starting and maintaining a conversation
10. Ignoring someone who is annoying you
11. Cooperating with others
12. Giving and receiving compliments

Friendships skills are generally developmental. That is, kids grow into these skills given exposure to different situations and with adult help.

1. Interact with your kids through games and other means so you can help kids learn directly from you how to get on with others. Playing video games is a great way to learn what kind of helping and tolerance behaviors kids have. You might learn a few things about yourself too!
2. Talk about these skills: If you notice your kids need to develop some of these skills then talk about them, point out when they show them and give them some implementation ideas. Let kids mke their own choices about friends even when you don’t like what the kids are up too. This gives them a chance to make their own values. This is a good time to passively message your own values by saying something like “Yeah, I totally hate it when a friend lies to me. In fact, sometimes, I consider not being friends with that person anymore, what do you think?”
3. Kids are quite ego-centric and need to develop a sense of ‘other’ so they can successfully negotiate the many social situations that they find themselves in. Show them where you end and where they begin by letting them make choices from the get go, even babies can choose what toy interest them the most. Then support good choices and let consequences occur naturally or logically for bad relational choices when they are in the stages of social exploration.

P.S.  Here are a couple of resource books you may want to order on this topic:

The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Social Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and their Peers

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends

 

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