Back to School – Part I

Another school year has begun and you are getting settled into the new routine.For a parent, back to school means early mornings, quick breakfasts, quicker baths, crisply ironed uniforms, packing lunch boxes, helping out with homework, and lots more. For your kid, it means getting used to a new teacher and higher curriculum, making friends, dealing with bullies and mostly, just trying to fit in.

And while every school day is filled with fun and excitement and learning new things, your child is going to face his/her own share of problems, thus leaving it up to you, ‘the parent’, to guide and help your child through this phase.We’ve put together some common back-to-school problems and how you can help your child deal with them.

The ABC’s of Social Interaction: While some children make friends easily, others may have a hard time taking that first step towards social inclusion. Here’s how you can play a role in helping them make new friends:

  • Listen and guide: Kids are prone to constantly changing their feelings and opinions. Don’t misconstrue what could be a simple fight with a pal, as a serious problem. Sometimes, talking to them and simply listening is the best way to help them get it out of their system. If need be, give them some smart advice peppered with examples of your own attempts to make friends as a child.
  • Don’t be pushy: Every child has a unique personality. Give them time to develop and learn how to interact in their own way. Don’t push them into doing things just because it is something you might have done.
  • Fix a play-date: Play-dates are a great way to help your child make friends as you can choose to limit the numbers, thus making your child more comfortable. Children may find it easier to be themselves and open up in the comfort of their own homes. It also gives you a chance to meet and interact with other parents, making it a win-win.
  • Help them develop confidence: Confidence is a key factor in helping your child interact with others. You can build their confidence by helping them develop interpersonal skills, paying attention and listening when they talk, giving them responsibilities that make them feel important, encouraging them, and mostly just showing them how much you love them.
  • Out-of-school activities: Let your child develop their interests and hobbies through after-school classes like art, dance or swimming. They might find it easier to make friends that share common interests with them.
  • Emphasize on manners:Teach your kids to be well-mannered and polite at all times, and with all kinds of people. Respectful and polite children are more likely to attract good friends.
  • Ask for help: If your child continues to be extremely introverted, the problem may be rooted a little deeper than you think. Speak to your child’s teacher and see if he/she may be facing any specific problem at school that is spilling over into every other aspect of their lives. Seek help and advice from other parents or doctors.

How did you help your child make friends, and what are the problems you’ve had to deal with? We’re waiting to hear some ‘real’ stories.

(This blog is the first of a two-part series. Watch out for the next one coming this Friday, for more practical advice on back to school woes.)


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