Making friends is an important part of kids' socio-emotional development, but the process of learning this important like skill differs from child to child. Take celebri-tot Scarlet Snow Belo. She’s a naturally confident and sociable toddler who easily makes friends with older kids and younger ones, too.
Kids can learn how to be sociable—only they do so at their own pace. As Scarlet’s dad, Hayden Kho Jr., said in an interview: "The baby's brain is full of potential and we're really underestimating its capability. You really kinda have to start them young."
Here are some tips on how you can help your toddler be more friendly and sociable:
1. Be a positive role model.
Scarlet’s parents help her develop positive social skills by making sure she sees them showing love and giving respect to one another. Since children learn by watching, observing, and imitating adults, it’s important they see you being a good example, especially with the way you treat family and friends.
2. Use playtime as a way to teach social skills.
Another way parents can help their children is by modeling appropriate behavior during playtime. Show them how to share, listen, and solve conflicts. Make them practice these social acts to help your kids build friendships.
3. Help them be more considerate of other people’s feelings.
Developing empathy is important in making friends. According to psychologist Jean Piaget, children ages 2 to 7 may have difficulty understanding how others feel because they see the world only from their point of view.
Still, there are ways you can help your kids develop concern for others. In Scarlet’s case, her mom, Vicki Belo, does this by gently explaining to her daughter why it’s important to admit wrongdoing and to apologize to the people she has hurt.
4. Organize play dates in your home.
Being in a familiar environment will help make your kids feel comfortable as they learn how to behave in social situations. Help each child to introduce himself or herself, and give them enough time to warm up to each other. Make sure there are enough toys since toddlers are usually not keen on sharing just yet.
For Scarlet’s parents, inviting their daughter’s playmates to their home also helps her get used to being around more kids, preparing her once she starts school.
5. Make sure they feel at ease.
Your kids’ comfort should always be a priority. Dress them up in loose, comfortable clothes that won’t restrict their movement. Keep them clean and tidy throughout playtime by having Belo Baby Wipes and Belo Baby Sanitizer within reach. And just before their playmates arrive, remember to use Belo Baby Cologne and Belo Baby Talc-Free Powder to keep them feeling and smelling fresh all day.
Keep in mind that every kid is unique, and parents will need to wait and see if their child is ready to make friends. What you can do, however, is help create opportunities for them to learn how to build friendships, and gain confidence in the long run.
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