Every parent wants their child to make friends. Community is necessary for a quality life, yet it can be challenging to build. Add in a few PCSs and other military child challenges and making friends can become extremely difficult. There is no magic formula that we as parents can concoct to give our kids the friends they need, but there are a few tips and tricks we can follow to help them out.
Involve them in extracurricular activities.
It doesn’t have to be a sport. There are a plethora of options for kids to find common ground. Scour the community Facebook sites, school club lists and meetups. Ask your child to commit to three meetings of something before allowing them to opt out. Provide options and then make them get out and try.
Find a house near a school.
This is not easily applied if you aren’t moving, but living near a school could present the opportunity to walk to class with peers. If you have younger kids, it also provides accessibility to a playground that may frequently be visited by other children in the area.
Make kids spend time outside in the yard.
This is especially helpful if you have just moved. By being outside, other kids in the neighborhood will see a new friend has moved in. Pull out bikes, balls and skateboards or wash your car together as a family. Whatever you do in the fresh air, provide the opportunity to be approached.
Make your own friends.
Be an example to your child and show them how to introduce yourself to others. Go out of your way to say hi to the parent near you who has the same aged kids. Set your child up for success by modeling friendly behavior and providing occasions to get out there.
Tell them the truth.
It is no secret that one piece of advice or practical action may work wonderfully at a certain location or a particular season of life, but in the next, it fails miserably. Tips and tricks for helping our kids only go so far, but mindset and confidence can go the distance. We can shape our children’s belief in the truth they were created for a good reason. We need to consistently be reminding our kids of the fact they are a part of a bigger picture than one school/neighborhood/club. Making friends is extremely important; almost as important as knowing they can trust their parents to tell them these truths. If we are able to help in no other way than this, they will do just fine.