Becoming a parent is such a wonderful experience, but it can also be overwhelming, scary and downright lonely.

Whether you’re the first in your group of friends to have a baby or you’ve recently moved to a new area and don’t really know anyone at all, it can be really hard not having other mums to talk to.

If you’re ready to go for it, here are 5 ways you can get out there and meet some new mum friends.

5 ways to meet new mum friends

1. Get online

Putting yourself out there and trying to make new friends can feel quite scary to start with.

You can ease yourself in though by starting off online.

Websites like netmums are a good place to start.  Netmums has local pages where you can find out about classes and events in your area, and you can normally find a chat group there too to start talking to other local parents.

Another option is to head to Facebook and look for local parenting groups there.  Then it’s just a case of taking a deep breath and joining in with conversations or reaching out and introducing yourself.

 

2. Make the most of waiting rooms

When you’re pregnant you’ll spend a fair bit of time sitting in waiting rooms to see the midwife or to go for blood tests.  And it doesn’t stop after the baby is born.  You’ll probably head to the surgery quite regularly to see your health visitor and for baby’s jabs.

Make the most of this time spent sitting and waiting and get chatting to other mums there who look like they’re open to talking.  These kind of situations give you a great opening as you can just ask how old their baby is, what their name is and so on.  Nice simple conversation starters!

 

3. Brave babygroup

Venturing into the world of babygroups can be quite scary, but they are a wonderful way to make new mum friends.

I’ve written a post about going to baby group for the first time, so head over and give it a read, especially if you’re shy and really feeling nervous about it.

A lot of places will have organisers who’ll be happy to introduce you to parents with babies the same age as yours.  If not then have a wander round and look for another mum who seems to be on her own to go and start a conversation with her.

 

4. Try a class instead

If simple babygroups aren’t really your thing then try a baby-related class instead.

There are so many options these days, from baby signing and yoga to swimming and gymnastics, there’s bound to be something that you and your baby would enjoy.

These classes are all great opportunities to meet other mums, and again you have the common ground of having babies so it’s a bit easier to get talking.  If you’d rather do something for you than your baby, then things like buggy fit exercise sessions are another great option.  And you can always suggest going for a coffee after the session as a reward for your hard work, and to carry on chatting.

Meet new mum friends at the park

5. Visit child-friendly places

Sometimes you can meet new mum friends just by heading out to child-friendly places.

So take your little one to the play park and to feed the ducks.  Go along to the local library, lots of them have rhyme time sessions that are really popular and you can foster a love of books at the same time.  See if there is a community centre near you that you could visit.

 

I know how isolating it can feel when you first have a child and don’t really have any friends who are experiencing the same things as you.  If you head to the right kinds of places though you can meet so many potential new friends who will understand everything you’re going through.

Once you’ve taken those first steps of getting chatting to people you can take your new friendship one step further and ask them if they want to meet in the park one day, or come to your house for a playdate.

Just remember that pretty much every mum you meet will be feeling the same way as you and will be happy to have someone else to chat to.

One last thing though.

When you do get chatting, make sure to introduce yourself.  And I mean, give them your name and make sure you get their name too.

I have spent far too long calling people ‘so and so’s mum’, and after a while it’s almost too awkward to ask them what their name actually is!

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

I’ve been a mum for several years now and while it is quite possibly the best thing I have ever done, it’s also possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I really don’t know how I would have managed these last few years without the amazing support system I have in my life.  And a big part of that is the mum friends I’ve made along the way.

Most of my friendships have been formed at babygroups and at the school gates, although there are all sorts of other places you can meet other mums if you’re feeling a bit lonely.  The thing is though, it can be really hard to know how to take a new friendship to the next level.

How do you go from general small talk at baby group to arranging playdates and actual nights out together?

I’m naturally quite an introvert and if I’m honest I’m still working on some of these things myself, but here are my essential tips for asking out a new mum friend.

Essential tips for asking out a new mum friend

Keep it casual at the start

When you first try to make the leap from acquaintance to friend it can be hard to know if the other person wants the same thing.  So it can be a good idea to keep things casual and quite open-ended to start with.

Next time you’re at playgroup together (or wherever you normally see each other) try asking if they’d like to get a coffee together sometime, or meet at the park at some point for a play and a chat.

Keeping it open with the ‘sometime’ line rather than offering a set date or time lets you gauge their reaction and takes the pressure off both of you a bit.  If they don’t seem interested you can just leave it and maintain the friendship as it is.  If they say yes though then you can follow up with a firmer plan to get together.

 

Choose your moment and watch your body language

Things are always a bit manic with babies and young children around, but try and find a calmer moment to ask your new friend out.  Don’t do it when they’re trying to calm down their screaming baby or juggle school bags and lunch boxes at the end of the school day.

If you’re at playgroup you can use a little psychological trick to your advantage and ask them when they’ve got a nice cup of tea in their hand.  Studies have shown that when we hold a warm drink in our hands we think more warmly about the person we’re interacting with at the time.

Try to act confident when you’re talking to them too, and don’t fidget too much or cross your arms which can come across as really defensive.

Instead try gently touching their arm as you’re talking to them.  Diana Mather, author of Secrets of confident communicators says;

“People who are tactile are often more popular than people who never touch others.  Touch enables us to voluntarily and involuntarily get closer to each other”

If the thought of doing this makes you feel uncomfortable though, try to find something else to do with your hands while you’re talking, like holding a cup of tea or one of your baby’s toys.

Tips to help ask out a new mum friend

 

Focus on what you have in common

If you want to start with getting together with your new mum friend and your children then this is pretty easy.

You can use the fact that you both have children to your advantage and ask them on a play date or child-focused activity.  So see if they want to check out a new baby signing class with you, or meet up at the local pool for the baby swimming session.

If you actually fancy trying to do something with your new friend without your children, then it might help to find out what else you have in common.

It might be that you both love films but never get to see the new releases any more.  In this case it could be really easy to suggest a trip to the cinema together once you know what sort of films they like most.  Maybe you’ve chatted about the fact that you both want to get back in shape, and so you could ask if she wants to for a walk/run sometime or to check out a new class at the gym.

 

Make it easy for them to say yes

We all lead such busy lives that we don’t always want to add more things to the chaos.

So don’t make the first move with your new friend too complicated, think about making it something that’s really easy for them to say yes to.  Ask them if they fancy a coffee at the cafe by school after you’ve dropped the children off.  See if they fancy joining you and your little one at the park round the corner from babygroup.  If you can find something that’s nice and convenient and doesn’t really put anyone out they may well be more likely to say yes.

 

Assuming everything goes well and your new friend says yes to getting together, try not to put too much pressure on yourself for it to go well. 

Just relax, be yourself and try to have fun.  And remember that she’s probably feeling the exact same way and is just happy to have another mum to chat to about life with babies and children.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The summer holidays are a great time to encourage our children to get up and get active.

There are so many benefits to spending more time outside as a family, and it’s so important to keep our children active rather than spending all summer sat in front of a computer.  But it can be hard to think of enough different things to do to fill the whole six week break from school.

If you’re in need of a bit of inspiration, here are some ideas for fun things you can do to keep your children active this summer.

Fun ideas to keep the children active this summer

 

Get some wheels

Learning to ride a bike is a bit of a rite of passage and the summer holidays are a great time to help your child master it.  And riding a bike is a great way to get them active once they’re feeling confident.

Younger children can have just as much fun on a balance bike, which also helps them gain the basic skills they’ll need to ride a proper bike later.

If bikes aren’t your children’s thing then roller skates or scooters might grab their interest a bit more.  And for older children you could branch out to roller blades, stunt scooters or skateboards.

 

Try out parkour

Parkour, or free running, is a great way to get children active and build their confidence in what their bodies can do.

It’s basically about moving quickly around an area and getting around obstacles by running, jumping or climbing up and over them.  The best way to start is to look for a local class where your children can learn how to do parkour as safely at possible.

 

Keeping children active this summer

 

Find a fitness trail

These are basically pieces of exercise equipment set up along a trail, so you can have a good walk or run and stop off along the way to try out some different exercises.

It’s a great way to keep children interested who might otherwise get a bit bored of just going for a walk, as well as being a fun way to use their bodies in all sorts of different ways.

 

Go swimming

Swimming is a great full body workout and something that most children tend to really enjoy.

Take a look at your local pool and see what sessions they have on that might be suitable for your family.

Or if you’re lucky enough to live by the coast then head to the beach on a warm day and brave swimming in the sea.  You could even go on a cooler day and just splash around in the shallow water, jumping in the waves as they come in will still burn off a fair bit of energy!

 

Visit the park to keep children active this summer

 

Visit the park

Another childhood classic, but for a good reason.  Parks are a great place to go to get children active, no matter how old they are.   Younger children love playing on see-saws and slides in the play park, while older children can take along a football or cricket set and have a little game.

Another option that’s great fun when the park is a bit quieter is to get your children to use the play park as an obstacle course and challenge them to get round it as quickly as possible.  Nerys and I do this sometimes on our way home from school and she loves it.  They can climb up the climbing frame and down the fireman’s pole, run around the see saw and weave in and out between the swings.

 

Let them try out a new sport

You can go the DIY route with this one, by teaching your child some beginner sports skills yourself.  It might be tennis, cricket, football or rounders, depending on what bats and balls you can get your hands on.

The great thing with these kinds of sports is that even if you can’t get together enough people for a proper game you can have fun working on the basic skills needed to play.

So get a pop up goal and get your child to practice kicking a football on target.  Or find a nice open space to teach them to bowl and bat for cricket.

If you’re not much of a sporty person yourself then look out for classes and one-off sessions that might be running in your local area to give your children a taste of different sports.  They might just discover something they love and want to continue in the new school year.

 

So there you have it, plenty of ideas for fun ways to keep the children active this summer.  Are there any other activities that your children particularly enjoy getting involved in?

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

We moved into the house we currently live in when I was about 7 months pregnant, from a furnished one-bedroom flat.  So we had to get a fair bit of furniture and soft furnishings all in one go.  Looking back now though I’m quite pleased that we had to do it on a budget so didn’t splash out on anything too expensive.

Our sofa is second hand and while I love it, I’m not too precious about it and don’t mind if things get spilt on it now and then.  I’ve just sort of embraced the fact that this is how life is at the moment.  This is the stage in life where it just doesn’t make sense to have too many ‘nice things’.

In the future though, I would love to have walls perfectly painted in Farrow and Ball and a whole house furnished with gorgeous pieces from Cox and Cox.  To be honest, I would just love to buy things for the house because I love them, not because they’re practical.

For now though, it’s cheap and cheerful all the way so I don’t get too upset if things get ruined by spills and artistic creativity.  I think most parents at one point or another have said these words, this is why we can’t have nice things.

This is why we can't have nice things

I really don’t want to jinx myself here but I think we’ve got off quite lightly over the years.

Our children have been pretty good about not drawing on walls or covering furniture in stickers.  We have had some accidents though, like the time I let Nerys draw while sitting on the sofa and she managed to get a nice line of black pen on the cushion.

Easily fixed by just turning the cushion over luckily.

I asked some of my parenting blogger friends for their experiences though and oh my word some of them give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘this is why we can’t have nice things’:

 

Victoria from Lylia Rose

“The one that sticks in my memory the most is when my daughter came into the living room with a red patio chalk and drew a thick red chalk line all over our two sofas! I had been contemplating upgrading our sofas, but I’ll think I’ll wait until the kids are older.”

 

Jen from Just Average Jen

“Walls….my son has covered them in everything over the years but worst had to be permanent marker! Incidentally milk gets it off fabrics and hair spray off walls but wallpaper there’s no hope!”

 

Kate from Kate on Thin Ice

“2-3 year old son was quiet so I took full advantage and then got suspicious and went in lounge to see a life-sized dinosaur drawing over all my lovely walls. Day before landlord was coming to inspect the house too. So stressful – could never keep house clean and tidy with small children. Really let it get to me too convinced it meant I was the worst mum in the world.”

 

Chloe from Indigo Wilderness

“I treated myself to a gorgeous pair of heels a few years ago, so proud I was to have an occasion to wear something gorgeous I went upstairs to plan my outfit around my brand new, expensive shoes only to find my 2yo & 5yo “colouring in the patterns”

 

Eva from Captain Bobcat

“Oh everything! Basically we can’t have nice things at all. My husband painted the wall a few month ago with washable paint. 3 days later the children drew on it with ballpoint pen. That’s not coming off with anything. We put up nice stickers in their room on the same occasion on the freshly painted wall. They peeled off the stickers and with that the glossy paint…”

“Also, my son wanted to rearrange 5 quite expensive antique children’s book illustrations (we purchased them for the nursery before he was born, so really we had NO idea before the first child!) in his room the other day, dropped two and broke the glass in the frame. Nothing’s safe, not even on the walls”

 

Emma from Fashion Mommy

“My son was playing ‘mender man’ and smashed his wooden hammer on the TV screen. Needless to say we needed a new telly.”

 

I think it’s safe to say that most parents will agree that as a general rule it’s just not worth having lovely, expensive things when there are small children in the house!

One day though, things will be different.

Our walls will be free from scribbles (and drawings of dinosaurs) and sticky fingerprints.  Our sofas will be safe from chalk and pen marks.  Our picture frames and TV screens won’t be in danger of being smashed by well-meaning toddlers.

Things will be clean and calm and in one piece.

I wonder then, will we miss the chaos of this life stage, just a little bit?

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

When you become a parent pretty much everything in your life changes in one way or another.

Some of those changes are nice and easy to adjust to, and others take a bit more time to accept.  One thing that can be really hard to get used to is not being in control of everything.

If you’re used to doing things your way, at your own pace, all the time it can be incredibly hard to adjust to life with children.  I think a lot of us carry on trying to be in control, when really we need to just slow down and let go a bit (a lot) more.

Are you a parenting control freak_ (1)

 

The first thing we need to do is admit that we might be a bit of a parenting control freak.

You might not realise how much you’re clinging to being in control until you stop and take a look around.

 

Here are some signs that you might be a parenting control freak:

  • You don’t like your child playing with playdough or painting because you can’t bear the thought of all the mess they’ll make.  The same goes for any kind of sensory or messy play.

 

  • You do things for your child that they could do for themselves, because then you know it’ll be done right.

 

  • You make pretty much all your child’s decisions for them.  You pick out their clothes every day and choose which book to read to them at bedtime.

 

  • You use bribes to get them to wear what you want and do what you want, when really it doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things.

 

  • You ‘help’ them with pretty much everything they do, rather than stepping back and letting them do it for themselves.  It starts with telling them where the stickers go in their sticker book when they’re toddlers and carries on to hovering over them doing their homework.

 

  • You don’t give them room to make mistakes, to fail, to make messes and to mess up.

 

  • Things around the house have to be done your way, which is clearly the right way!  It really winds you up when your partner or children load the dishwasher or hang the washing up because they always do it ‘wrong’.

 

How many of these things sound familiar to you?

 

I know quite a few of them ring just a little too true for me.  And it’s something I’ve been working on dealing with since Rhys was a baby.

It’s funny because I honestly wouldn’t describe myself as a controlling person, but I suppose I do like to feel in control of things.  Maybe being controlling and liking to be in control are two different things.

I’m not a natural leader and I don’t think I dominate others and boss them around.  But when things are out of my personal control I definitely feel more anxious and on edge.

 

I think it’s really important though, to let go of that need for control when it comes to life with our children.

 

Our job is to equip them with the skills they’ll need to go out in the world and be able to take care of themselves.  And that starts will letting them make messes, letting them experiment and make mistakes and do things their own way.

Tom Hodgkinson, author of ‘The idle parent‘ believes that the absolute best thing we can do for our children is to just leave them alone.

He says:

“To the busy modern parent, this idea seems counter-intuitive, aren’t we always being told to do more, not less?  Well, no.  The problem is that we’re putting too much work into parenting, not too little.  By over-interfering we are not allowing the child to grow up and learn…we need to retreat. Let them live”

And I think this is advice we should all take on board.

It’s not about being lazy, or absent as parents.  It’s about giving our children the space they need to do things for themselves and to learn to think for themselves.

So where do you start?  Here are some ideas:

  • Let them pick their own clothes.  Unless it’s a day where they have to wear something in particular, like school uniform, let them choose what clothes they would like to wear each day.  For young children who might make completely inappropriate choices, start by picking out 2 suitable outfits yourself and letting them choose which of those they would like to wear.

 

  • Let them help you out around the house.  Just lower your standards a bit and let them make their own beds and put their own toys away.  As they get older let them help you clear the table after meals, do some dusting or sweep the floors.

 

  • Accept that they will get hurt.  This goes against all our instincts as parents, but I think we need to stop wrapping our children in cotton wool and let them climb trees and graze their knees.  Tom agrees with this idea, and believes that it helps to strengthen our children’s ability to deal with pain.

 

  • Keep out of arguments between your children.  This one is a real personal choice I think, and is one that I’m not sure I completely agree with.  Tom writes that by keeping out of it our children learn the art of negotiation, and I do see his point.  But for the moment at least I will still step in when my two are arguing, to stop things escalating and explain to them the options for how to move forward.

 

  • Let them get things wrong.  Let them stick the sun sticker at the bottom of the page and colour the sky in green.  Give them time when they’re doing a jigsaw puzzle to test out all the wrong pieces before they find the right one that fits.  As they get older, let them make mistakes in their homework instead of jumping in and telling them the right answer.

 

  • Accept that your child isn’t you.  They won’t necessarily like the same things as you, or have the same natural talents that you have.  It’s up to us as parents to get to know the children we’ve been given and to respect their individual choices.  Don’t try and tell them how they ‘should’ feel about things and what activities they ‘should’ want to do.  Instead take the time to listen to them and to understand how they see the world and how they feel about things.

 

I think for those of us who like to feel a sense of control in a world that so often seems chaotic and, well, out of control, it can be really hard to let go.  Especially when it comes to our children.  I think we all just want the best for our families, and it can take some time to realise that ‘the best’ comes as a result of mess and chaos and mistakes.

It might not feel like it at the time, but letting our children learn all the lessons that come from trying and failing and trying again really is the best thing for them.

That’s just a lesson that I’m still learning after 7 years as a parent.

 

This post has been linked up to KCACOLS linky. 

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most children love to dress up.  All you need to do is look at the popularity of holidays, such as Halloween, to see this.  It’s not just special occasions though, you can see it throughout the year, whether it be dressing up in parent’s clothes or rummaging through a fancy dress box – there are hours of fun to be had with dressing up.

If your child is keen on having a fancy dress party, the possibilities are endless – you will never run out of ideas. From wearing an animal costume, to a princess, to impersonating a celebrity, to even posing as your most favoured game player, such as Mario and Luigi fancy dress. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions and advice that will help guide you through the planning process to host an awesome fancy dress party.

The tips you need to know for an awesome fancy dress party (1)

Things to consider:

  • Pick a theme

Whatever the occasion, first thing first, you’ll want to choose what the theme will be. With an endless number of possibilities, whatever your child decides will be highly entertaining for all involved.

A popular option is to ask everyone to dress up in something beginning with the same letter as your child’s name. For example, if your child’s name begins with “B”, party-goers could dress up as Belle (the princess), a bee, Batman or a baby. But, the key is to think outside the box, to ensure you don’t end up dressed up as someone else!

Alternatively, if your child is younger, they may want more of a specific theme. For instance, they may insist everyone dresses up as a princess, or pirates. Perhaps even something comic-book related that appeals to both girls and boys, where they can don outfits such as Spiderman, Ironman or Wonder Woman fancy dress.

Although, before just buying a costume for your child, it is important to do your research. A couple of years ago, MPs called for children’s fancy dress costumes to face tougher fire safety regulations, after TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter suffered serious burns from her Halloween outfit.

 

  • Preparation

Like any party, a fancy dress party for your child will need a bit of preparation in advance. Usually a month is more than enough time, but if you are considering booking a venue, it is worth enquiring a few months before you plan to host the party.

Once you’ve picked a theme, you will need to begin the party prep. This is the most fun part, as you can really let your creative juices flow. It is important to send out invitations as soon as possible to ensure people are free and have enough time to create or buy their costumes – three weeks is reasonable.

As far as food is concerned, there are many things you can do to extend the theme even further and impress. Consider decorating the cake and other food items by embellishing them in edible designs, such as eye-patches or treasure for a pirate party, or floral and glitter designs for a garden fairy party.

Fancy dress party themed food

  • Decorate

Once you’ve determined this, the next task is to start preparing the decor, by designing party bags and making decorations. Decorations of course can be made to suit the theme and, with enough prep time, you can really make something special that the kids will remember.

Using cardboard, paint, a computer and a printer, you can make all sorts of fantastic things, and it’s a great way to involve the kids and spend some quality time with them. If you’re not the most creative of people, there are many online resources that you can refer to for more personal, homemade decorations that will not only look fantastic, but won’t break the bank either.

 

With this tips you can give your child a really awesome dressing up party, so take plenty of photos so you can all remember it for years to come!

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

As I’ve got older I’ve joked a few times about how making friends is so much easier when you’re a child.  You just walk up to another child and start playing with them.  Easy!  Except, it’s not actually that easy is it.

Making friends can be so hard for all of us at times.  And it can be just as hard as parents to see our children struggle to make friends.

The thing is, we can’t always physically be there to help our children to make friends but there are several things we can work on with them to set them up for forming great friendships as they venture into the world of playgroups, nursery and school.

How to help your child make friends

Focus on your relationship with them

One of the most important things you can do to help your children build healthy relationships in the future, is to concentrate on your own relationship with them.

Various studies have been done that show that children with a secure attachment to their parents go on to have better, closer friendships.  If you’re not familiar with the term, John Bowlby (1988) explains that a child is securely attached if they’re confident of their parents’ support.  For securely attached children, the parent acts like a safe, secure base that they can explore the world from.

Securely attached children will keep track of their parent while they’re exploring, checking back in with them now and then.  They also go back to their parent or reach out to them physically when they’re scared or upset, and they’re comforted by being close to them.

Whether or not a child is securely attached is partly down to their innate nature, but there are things we can do as parents to encourage it to.

Researchers have found that parents who are sensitive and responsive to their child’s needs tend to have children who are then securely attached.  This doesn’t mean rushing to our babies every time they make a noise in the night, but it does mean getting to know their different cries and responding to them with love and care.

Parenting our children in a way that is sensitive to their feelings and responding in a caring, thoughtful way to their needs can really help set our children up for building healthy relationships with others in the future.

 

Teach them to be kind

Studies have shown that children who are more willing to help others are more likely to have high-quality friendships.  It makes sense that children who are kind and happy to help others will develop stronger relationships and find it easier to make friends in the first place.

You can help your child grow up to be kind by modelling kind behaviour yourself.  Let your child see you hold the door open for other people, help someone reach something in the supermarket and react with empathy when someone you know is sad or angry.

Empathy is really important for helping children be kind and foster positive relationships.

You can help your child be more empathetic by using any and every opportunity that comes up to talk about how other people are feeling.  If another child falls over at the park you can talk about how they are hurt and how that might make them feel sad, angry or scared.  When you’re reading a book or watching TV together and something bad happens to one of the characters then you can talk about how they might be feeling about it.

We read ‘Dogger‘ recently and it’s been a great opportunity to talk about several different emotions and to highlight how kind Dave’s sister is when she gets Dogger back for him.

Help children make friends

Help them to regulate their emotions

If your child has a tendency to be aggressive they might find it harder to make friends.

A study by Carlson et al (1984) found that, not really surprisingly, children reject people that they see to be aggressive, disruptive and irritable.  And various studies have shown that popularity in preschool is tied in with kindness and low aggression.

So to help your child make friends you need to first help them learn to regulate their emotions.

There were several studies carried out in the 90s that found that parenting style can have a big impact on how well children can regulate their emotions.  They found that children whose parents talked to them about their big emotions in a sympathetic, constructive way were more able to then control those emotions.

On the other hand, when parents reacted to those negative emotions by telling the child they’re just being silly or by punishing them for being angry or upset, the children tended to find it harder to regulate those emotions.

It’s not always easy, but when your child is angry or really upset, try and find a way to calm them down and talk about their feelings.  Tell them that you understand and that everyone feels angry and sad at times.  Don’t just dismiss their feelings.

 

Teach them to be good conversationists

I’m not saying we need to start coaching our children on politics and the arts so that they always have something to talk about, but there are some skills we can teach our children that can help their communication skills and their ability to have good conversations.

This in turn can help them to make friends.

A study by Bierman (1986) found that children became more popular with their peers after they’d had some training in active listening.  This is basically behaving in a way that makes it clear to the other person that we’re paying attention to what they’re saying.

We can help our children to be active listeners by teaching them to make appropriate eye contact during conversations, to let the other person speak without interrupting and to then make relevant responses to show they’ve listened and understood what was said to them.

 

Help children make friends play together

 

Help them plan for social situations

If. for example, your child has tried to make friends at the local park and it hasn’t gone well for them, then you can talk about what they could do differently next time.

You can discuss how your child could hold back for a minute if he sees children playing a game that he wants to join in with.  Rather than just jumping straight in he could have a think about what he could do to fit in with the game they’re playing.  So if the children are playing a make believe game where they’re selling ice creams, then maybe your child could ask to join in as a customer wanting to buy some.

This would also be a good time to talk about appropriate social behaviours.  So explain to them that they shouldn’t try and take over or change the game that the other children are playing.  And if the others don’t want to let you join in then don’t argue with them about it and try to force them to let you play, just walk away and find a new game to play or another child to try again with.

 

Children really are all so different; some will naturally make friends easily and others will find the whole thing harder to get right.

With some guidance though, and hopefully with the help from these tips, our children can learn to form solid, healthy friendships that will last.

Do you have any other tips or bits of advice for helping children to make friends?