Question:How do I encourage my child to make friends in his Kindergarten?
Asked By : MummyofBabyD
Words from the Expert:
Question: My boy does not have friends in his kindergarten. How can I encourage him to open up and make friends?
Answer from the Expert:
Building friendships depend heavily on social-emotional skills, self-regulation skills and social competence. One of the advantages of enrolling your child in a preschool is to pick up social-emotional skills in a safe social setting.
There’s no need to be unduly worried if your child is newly enrolled and does not know how to make friends yet. In school your child will have many opportunities to pick up life skills, such as social skills and independence. Young children are naturally adaptable and inquisitive, and the world is quite literally their oyster. They learn by exploration and observation, so they would imitate social behaviours they notice, such as befriending.
At Kinderland, we have a suite of programmes that provide opportunities for the development of social-emotional skills:
1. We are renowned for our Children’s Music Programme, preschool marching band and preschool ensemble. Children who participate in these endeavours gain coordinated teamwork and communication skills, which serve them well in rounding out their social skills.
2. Through S.T.R.E.A.M. projects, children are heavily involved in discussions and working with peers. In addition, Kinderland’s S.T.R.E.A.M. programme helps children develop critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills.
3. In KinderFit, our fitness programme for pre-schoolers, children engage in cardio-wellness activities that necessitate teamwork as the activities involved require physical dependency on peers.
4. Character development is key at Kinderland, from learning the importance of caring for themselves and their community to protecting our environment. Kinderland’s collaborations with charity organisations, including the Lions Befrienders and Singapore Red Cross, offer children opportunities to interact with people of all ages and walks of life, creating the habit of giving through everyday acts of caring.
5. During outdoor learning activities and planned holiday programmes, our students learn through numerous opportunities for questioning and conversations by observing others and nature.
Thus, we encourage you to help your child find his footing by being his supporter. You can create opportunities for social interaction and guide him to find opportunities to contribute his thoughts or presence in play or life situations. Through conversations, seek to understand what’s hindering him and attempt to resolve the issues together.
You can also introduce your child to activities that expose him to social relationships. This need not be limited to friendships in schools. If he has cousins or family friends around the same age, interactions with them may strengthen your child’s social-emotional skills too. Do note that adults should refrain from jumping in to help him make conversations but instead allow him the space to take the initiative at his own pace.
Dr Carol Loy
Director of Curriculum & Professional Development, Kinderland International Education
Kinderland Academy & Preschool