1. Draw on a child’s own experiences
Does your child have personal experiences of bullying or being bullied? Or have there been times when your child has been left out of a game or not wanted to let someone else join in? How did that feel for? Talk it over with the child.
2. A broad friendship group
Having a diverse group of friends, and ensuring your child is getting to know a range of different people, helps develop tolerance and prevent social exclusion. Encourage your child to make friends from different cultures, and to get to know children and adults of all ages too.
3. Set an example
Think about your own behaviour as a parent, and check that you’re not criticizing other children in a negative way. Talk to your child about positive and inclusive play opportunities, and show them how to be proactive when it comes to making new friends. Join in the conversation and say hello to other children, encouraging them to talk to one another.
4. Affirm positive behaviour
Praise your child for positive and thoughtful interactions with other children, like saying thank you or sorry, sharing, taking turns and being open to new ideas from others. Make it clear that their behaviour is being affirmed as positive.
5. Establish the rules
Ensure your child understands what constitutes acceptable behaviour when it comes to making new friends. Explain and agree these rules together to make sure your child is clear on how to make sure their play is always safe.
Tips Maija Hytti