Ideas for Encouraging Children’s Friendships Through Recreation

Tallahassee Families,

How do you encourage friendships between children who are socially struggling?

As Parents, we know how important it is for our kids to socialize with their peers. However, you may have noticed some kids just aren’t going to do it without a little help and encouragement.

Make friendship development a family priority. If friendships are to develop and thrive for children, parents must set the example and make it a priority. Children observe a lot more than adults give them credit for. If their parents are not active socially, how can you expect them too?

Become acquainted with other families in your neighborhood.  You do not see kids outside playing as often as years past. Why is that? Learn more about people in your neighborhood through school functions, church get togethers and similar type events. You will most likely meet some great people close to home.

Discuss children’s friendships at home. Parents can encourage their children to be more social by suggesting ideas and talking about what it means to be a friend and have one. They should ask their children questions related to social get togethers and plant seeds whenever possible. For example, “The new Star Wars movie is coming out, are there some kids at school you would like to invite to watch it with you?”

Learn about community recreation resources. As a means of seeking opportunities for children to share experiences, families can explore neighborhood recreation resources, such as neighborhood parks, recreation centers, nature centers. Other well organized leisure programs through organizations such as YMCA/YWCAs, scouting, and Jewish Community Centers can also be very beneficial. Through building experiences in community events, children can meet several new people and most likely find some they will bond with.

For children to become friends, they must have opportunities to be together as peers in recreation activities. Parents, school personnel, and community recreation staff all play an important part in assisting with these opportunities.

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