"Providing you with tips and expert advice on helping your child get ready for Big School"

Expanding the friendship circle

As our little angels now leave the safety of their little playgroups, nursery or Kindergarten, it is important for them to develop social skills to interact with their peers on their own, without your constant presence. The big school offers a new world of opportunities with a larger circle of friends to interact with. Also at this age, having friends and building on those friendships are very important for a child's confidence and self-esteem. 

School, of course is a good platform for our children to build and enrich those social skills that will help them in the future. As parents with school going children, we do worry whether they will be accepted, whether they will have someone to play with during break, and if they are happy in their friend circle. These are natural concerns any parent will have, wanting our children to be safe and happy in this environment is important, for school represents a large part of your child's life during these formative years. Children from the ages from five onward are not selective of their friends; their main interest is to play.


As parents here are few tit-bits of advice we can give them:

1. Play skills: encourage your child to take part in group play, get them to suggest games and so on.

2. Self-control: being able to wait for what they want, using words to express their feelings rather than acting disruptively or misbehaving, giving others a turn.

3. Communicating: talking and listening to others in a friendly way, saying something to start a conversation.

4. Empathy: being able to respond to others’ feelings with understanding.

5. Coping: being able to respond to rejection, disappointment and disapproval without experiencing too much distress or winning without gloating


With these key attributes in mind, as a parent you should let your child go forth and develop their own friendships on the playground. Always make your child understand that they are able to come and talk to you about any problems at school. Sometimes we tend to minimalise a situation which we might see as trivial but to a child it is a very important moment their school life. A child's school life is the best time in their lives, developing friendships that can stand the test of time. 

Malathi Kahandaliyanage - Consultation Education and Behaviour Therapist says, 

"Good social skills involve more than direct language based interaction. Teach your child how to be in a group and why it's important to think as in a group plan. A group plan is when all of us think of the same problem and how to solve it together. We all need to learn to listen with our whole body . Identifying the emotions of yourself and others and acting rather than reacting is the key for good social skills.” 

Expert Advice provided by 

Written by Mayuri Jayasinghe  based on an interview with Malathi Kahandaliyanage - Consultation Education and Behaviour Therapist

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