As the school year comes to an end, a child’s opportunity to socialize with peers becomes more limited. For many children, summer is the time for pool parties, sleepovers and summer camps. However, if a child struggles to connect socially, they may find summer to be a difficult and lonely time. The following tips will help these children find more social opportunities this summer.
Start Planning Now
Children should be encouraged to reach out to school friends and plan summer play dates before the school year ends. That way the connections they’ve already made with classmates are still fresh, making it easier to segue way into summer.
Focus on Activities
If a child is socially awkward, its never more apparent than when boredom strikes, putting unnecessary pressure on a friendship. Making sure there is plenty of activity to keep kids busy during a play date will help kids with social issues. It’s also a good idea to have a backup activity in case the first one falls flat. These "Awesome Summer Fun 101" activities on Pinterest offers lots of ideas for summer activities!
One Friend at a Time
It’s important for a child with social struggles to initially focus their efforts to connect and communicate on one friend. While group play dates may take some of the pressure off and seem more fun initially, ultimately it’s easier for a child who struggles with making friends to focus interaction on one person at a time. In this way, potential bullying behavior or someone feeling left out is avoided.
Don’t Be Quick to Intervene
Confidence in personal relationships is half the battle for children with social issues. Parents' first instincts are usually to intervene and “fix” any issues by stepping in when play dates start to become problematic. Instead, it’s important for parents to give their kids time to work through some of these social issues on their own. It will not only boost self-esteem but will also teach them how to work things out for themselves.