Helping your child develop social connections again

Helping your child develop social connections again

Nimali Buthpitiya

Pandemic has finally permitted to transition into our new normal lives again. Though the future is uncertain we are taking gradual steps each day to begin the journey again the best way possible. It is an inevitable part of life. This is again another challenging time for parents with young children. They have been homeschooling for a considerable period of time and now the time has come to start schooling again. We usually see our children becoming uneasy and grumpy about going to school after each vacation. They take time to enjoy those interesting moments at school and feel quite unfamiliar with the environment and become less friendly at the same time. The intensity of this nature can be greater at this time since they were distant from almost all social connections for a long period of time due to social distancing rules that were prevalent in the country.

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Virtual connections with friends and relatives would have been the only exposure they had. However, it is essential to understand that children need some extra support during this transition period so that they will be able to get back to their normal routines like we adults do. Supporting to re-establish their social connections can be one of the initial steps we can take to make children feel encouraged and re-energized to go back to their normal life. Enjoying interactions with friends and peers again will act as a great support system and a motivation for them to successfully begin with other work.

Here are some tips which you can try as parents to socialize your children again…

  • Arrange new activities where your child can take part with others.

Activities are amazing opportunities to develop social interactions. Children can be provided with opportunities to play with their friends from the neighborhood or school during holidays and weekends. Parents can also enroll them for team sports or sport clubs to meet new friends to build friendships again. This will also help them develop their overall health.

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  • Help them become better communicators

Social skills are supported when children become better communicators. Expressing emotions is a vital element of social development. Children who demonstrate a special interest on aesthetic activities such as music, dancing or painting can also be encouraged to join other groups of children who share the same interests. Parents can join them for new classes, clubs or their peers outside school hours to meet again to engage in the activities they enjoy the most. It will be a place for sharing thoughts, ideas and building friendships with each other.  

  • Have open discussions 

Ensure to have open discussions with your child on a daily basis. Let them talk about their day as well as what they liked and disliked. Listen to their grievances, acknowledge them and answer their questions. This will allow you to strengthen, support and be there for your child knowing what they are going through. It will help you support their overall development including social skills. 

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  • Family time, outings and visitors

Pandemic made social relationships distant, scheduled events and outings postponed. Children would love to have their relatives visiting home again or going on that postponed family outing soon. Seeing parents getting busier again may upset them further and lose their hopes about enjoying the things they were waiting to happen. Hence, do not forget to have your family times together despite of daily busyness. Invite visitors with children home and re-schedule those postponed events or outings following safety precautions. These are invaluable opportunities for children to be motivated to get back to their normal and healthy mindset.

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Apart from the above tips, it is important that you keep a track of your child’s daily routine at home and school. Keep in touch with your child’s teachers to know how they are doing at school. This will help you assist your child further. Pandemic has brought a tough time for everyone, but insulate your children from anxieties and stresses of your own as much as possible. In order to be in a better place to help your child, attend to your mental and physical wellbeing at the same time. Having your relationship with children put right will become the greatest motivation for your children to think about building relationships with the outer world again.