Parent Magazine St. Johns October 2019 - Page 9

others need help and offer to give it. Practice talking You can’t make friends for your children, but you through a problem to find ways to cooperate. Notice can model, train and redirect behavior in ways that when someone is hurting and say kind words to them. support the skills they need to build healthy, happy Model a kind act or giving a compliment. Often, just relationships. one kind word or action makes all the difference in building a friendship. Practice will help your child react appropriately in real life settings. 2. Role-Play One of the most powerful methods of changing behavior in children is role-play. When children are Role Play Questions to “Break the Ice” and Problem-solve in Friendship-building. Ask: Skill: Do you want to play cars? (dolls, any other game or activity) Initiate That’s a cool bike. Can I ride with you? Compliment Why don’t you ask Cameron for help with your cars? Cooperation How do you think that made Audrey feel? Empathy Can you think of another way to solve the problem? Problem solve I like your American Girl. Do you want to play dolls together? Compliment Shall we ask Johnny to play with us? Cooperation involved in acting out ways to cooperate or what to do when a problem arises, the results are amazing. Role- playing can be done by physically acting out a scenario or through the use of puppets or dolls. Either way, your child is empowered to be part of the solution. Try it, you’ll be pleased with the results. 3. Offer Play Opportunities Children need many opportunities to practice their friendship-making skills. They need repetition to master cooperation or negotiation of a solution to a problem as it arises in their play situations. Invite another child to have lunch at your home or plan simple play dates in your community. Be sure to allow lots of unstructured play time in which children can pretend play. Be nearby to guide and redirect when help is needed. 4. Stay Balanced A good sense of humor is a wonderful character trait for both adults and children. Life isn’t perfect and friendships may bear a few battle scars. Children need to learn that conflict is a part of life. Thus, learning to resolve conflict is a real opportunity for personal growth. Making and keeping friends is a lifelong pursuit—it won’t be mastered in one day. Build on your child’s strengths. Compliment him when he does well and listen to her when she wants to talk about her I wonder if we can make a road for our Initiate cars in the sand? I’m sorry I got angry. Can we try again? Problem solve Should we let Sara play with us? Empathy friendship ups and down. “ MAKING AND KEEPING FRIENDS IS A LIFELONG PURSUIT—IT WON’T BE MASTERED IN ONE DAY.” S T. J O H N S parent M A G A Z I N E | 9