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Ten Ways You Can Help Your Child Make Friends at School
By: Kathy Lynn

Don't push or panic
Not all children are social butterflies. Some like to take their time, watching the scene before getting involved. Also, there are kids who will only ever have one or two close friends, while others will have a wider circle of friendship.

Support extracurricular activities
By joining clubs or teams, your child can meet others who share the same interests. It's easier to connect when you have something to talk about.

Put food in their lunch-box that's easy to share.
If she has a problem making the first move, sharing something from a lunchbox can be a great icebreaker.

Make your home welcoming
Welcome visiting children into your home. When your son or daughter is able to invite new friends home, it's easier for them to develop a relationship away from the crowded classroom and school yard.

Organize social events
Birthday parties and sleepovers are a great way to cement blossoming friendships.

Be a driver
Whether it's carpooling with another parent for swimming lessons or volunteering to drive on school outings, this will provide another opportunity to bring your child together with others.

Listen
If your child is having problems making friends at school, listen to her concerns without jumping in immediately with solutions. Sometimes all she needs is a chance to talk.

Problem-solve with your child.
If he needs more than a chance to talk, help him develop a plan. Ask him, "e;What do you think would happen if you sat beside the other boys at lunchtime?"e; Or, "e;What could you say? Then practise with him.

Observe your child
Does she have any behaviours that may be causing a problem? Is she too bossy or extremely shy? If so, help her to recognize the problem and develop alternate behaviours.

Recruit the teacher
Talk to your child's teacher about what she observes. Is there a classmate who would make a good match with your child? Ask her to pair them up on a project.

Of course, you may discover that she's doing just fine at school and just hasn't told you about her school social life.

Kathy Lynn is a Vancouver radio show host, columnist and parenting expert. For more information and to contact Ms, Lynn, visit her web site atwww.parentingtoday.ca
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