As an educator, I have always noticed some children simply do not appear to be likeable to others. No matter to what extent a teacher goes to to help a child become more socially accepted, it seems that some children simply do not have a knack for socializing.
Over 20 years of experience in the classroom has lead me to notice these less social children arrive in the early grades smiling less, pouting more, and seeming less open to others in general.
I am sure it will come as no surprise to know as these children get older and move through the grade levels with this self-absorbed attitude, they appear to have few friends and acquire a reputation for being “different”. As such, these children are generally the ones that make the best targets for bullies.
I do believe it is the responsibility of the adults in the lives of these children, teachers and coaches included, to offer these less social children situations where they can practice social skills. It is imperative for a healthy sense of self-esteem and well being that children are given guidance in how to make and be a friend. To assist parents in helping their children to be more likable and social, I have listed some tips that may be useful.
Children need to be around other children. Begin in the toddler years to schedule plenty of play dates for your children. Being around others allows your child to learn valuable skills such as caring, empathy, sympathy, sharing, and bonding. By interacting with others from an early age, children learn to be social.
Do not make everything about the child. Many children grow up in an environment where they are the center of attention. Adults and older siblings dote on them. This is perfectly normal and acceptable inside the family unit. But doting needs to be tempered by situations where the child understands that he/she is not the center of attention in every situation. Children need to realize they are part of something much larger. The earlier children are exposed to others outside the home, the easier this concept is for them to accept.
Tell your child to smile often. It is human nature to be drawn to those who smile. People who smile appear friendlier and more approachable to others. This simple gesture allows others to know when one is open to making new friends. Teach your child to smile from an early age by allowing them to see you model this behavior often.
Teach your child to ask questions. One of the easiest ways to make new friends is by showing interest in people. Everyone enjoys someone who seems genuinely interested in him or her. As a way of bonding and getting to know others, teach your child to ask appropriate questions of others about hobbies, vacations, sports, likes and dislikes.
The biggest key to your child knowing how to act in social situations is you. A child who grows up around people who socialize will be more likely to enjoy and engage in socializing. Be sure to let your child see you as a social being and when appropriate allow children to be part of your social network.
The article link below offers some helpful tips to parents as they teach social skills to their children.