Playgroups are a good venue for your preschool-aged child to learn how to get along with other children. Whether you plan to involve your child in a formal playschool or just a weekly informal gathering of moms and their kids, here are some tips to help your preschooler choose which playgroup suits him the most.
1. Boost your kid's self-esteem. Before your child can participate in social activities such as playing in a group, you need to make sure that she has enough self-esteem i.e. that she will be confident enough to hold her own among her playmates.
Constantly assure her of her uniqueness and worth as a gift especially created by God, so that when she goes out “into the real world” she will more easily adapt to making new friends. Show her how much you love and care for her by responding to her needs early on. Teach her cooperation by asking her to help out in age-appropriate chores. Praise her for good things done, and gently reprimand her for the bad.
Above all else, remind her every day that you love her, and that she is created unique and special – this will establish the foundation of your child’s self-esteem and help her withstand all trials that she may face later on in life.
2. Expose your child to people. Exposing your child to people of varying age groups will help him become a more rounded, socially-adaptable being.
Our son, who was born in East Timor, is a concrete example of this tip put into practice. Since birth he has been exposed to people, young and old, of different nationalities. Now that he is four years old, I can see that he has little trouble socializing with people older than him, as compared to most of his peers.
When joining informal playgroups or activities like the Awesome Kids gatherings held weekly during The Feast at Valle Verde, Tim has little difficulty in getting along with other children present. That’s why I know that his being homeschooled has not affected his social skills at all. In fact, it may have even improved them!