Are you worried that your child is having friendship issues? You may feel anxious and concerned about the effect on your child's wellbeing.
Learning social skills is just as important as learning to read and write and personal and social education is part of the curriculum. However, there are steps you can take to support and develop your child's social skills and confidence.
If you do feel there is a friendship issue going on, talk to your child about it. If they say, 'I've got no friends,' or 'No one would play with me today,' ask, 'What do you mean?' Sometimes a child has fallen out with a key member of their friendship group during the day, which has naturally upset them and perhaps made them feel a little alienated. However, young children frequently make up as quickly as they fall out.
Reassure your child, talk through what happened and discuss positive steps they can take to make things better. Encourage them to talk about how they feel.
If so, keep talking to your child - but be careful not to give them a daily interrogation. Rather, be on hand to listen when they do want to open up about their day. The likelihood is that your child is struggling either because they themselves find social skills difficult to master, or because they're being treated unkindly by other children. You could try talking to them about what a good friend looks like.
If you feel that your child is being treated unkindly speak to the class teacher as soon as possible to talk through a plan to deal with this. It may be that things are not as bad as you think.
Most teachers have a pretty good idea of what is going on socially with the children in their class and they can keep a closer eye on your child for a while. They can also suggest appropriate children who can 'buddy up' with your child and support them.
Resist the urge to approach the parents of any child you feel is being unkind - this rarely works well, and it doesn't show your child the best way to deal with difficult situations.
You can practise social skills at home and build confidence by helping your child to talk about their strengths and best qualities. You could also give opportunities for your child to practise taking turns, sharing and coping when things don't go their way, perhaps by playing a board game as a family.
Try to model positive reactions to difficult situations. You could also talk about why, as a family, you expect people to treat each other fairly, because you care for each other and want everyone to feel happy. Then explain that our friends expect the same.