Modeling Friendship

Teach your child how to make new friends by modeling good social skills with your own friends.
What signs can I look for to see if my child is feeling accepted socially? How can I get my child to make more friends?
Here is a social attributes checklist that you can use to see if your child has the necessary skills to be accepted socially by her peers:

My child usually:

  • Approaches others positively;
  • Expresses wishes and preferences clearly; gives reasons for actions and positions;
  • Asserts her rights and needs appropriately;
  • Is not easily intimidated by bullies;
  • Expresses frustrations and anger effectively and without harming others or property;
  • Gains access to ongoing groups at play;
  • Makes relevant contributions to ongoing activities;
  • Takes turns fairly easily;
  • Shows interest in others; exchanges information with others appropriately;
  • Negotiates and compromises with others appropriately;
  • Does not draw inappropriate attention to self;
  • Interacts non-verbally with other children with smiles, waves, nods, etc.

Healthy social development does not require that your child be a "social butterfly." The quality, rather than quantity, of a child's friendships is the most important index. Keep in mind that your child may simply be more shy than others, and it may be counter-productive to push such children into social relations which make them uncomfortable.

You are a model for your child's development of social skills. She will imitate how you interact with your friends and make new friends. Also, your response to her social interactions are very important. Be sure to praise her positive social interactions, such as greeting a classmate at the park in a friendly way.

Turning your home into a welcome spot for neighborhood children will make socialization easier for your daughter. Also, enrolling your child in activities that she enjoys will help her meet children with whom she can feel comfortable because they share similar interests.

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.