Have you ever wished you could help your child be more friendly
Some people seem very naturally friendly, open, warm engaging and smiley and other people instinctively seem to like them.
For children who are not naturally this way it can be really tough to see it come so easy to someone else and find it so tricky yourself.
It can be lonely without friends.
But can we help children develop friendliness or is it purely a natural thing?
I pretty much think you can learn (at least a bit) of any persona if you try and being a bit more friendly person certainly does make life easier. I am naturally friendly and it has helped me enormously and opened many doors and connections to me as well as bringing me a lot of comfort and joy. I was lucky I had a mum who modelled friendliness really well and I a natural disposition.
So how do we teach friendliness?
Well first we have to encourage children to se it less as a vague personality trait and more as set of characteristics they can learn to emulate.
Trying asking them this question…
I can think of lots of friendly traits can you (not all friendly people do all these things but just one or two of these can show denote friendliness)
Here’s my list:
warm, smiley, enthusiastic, encouraging, positive, interested, good at listening, uses your name, makes some eye contact, gives hugs, says thank you, always says hello, makes time for you, includes you, builds you up, natural, down to earth, uncomplicated, fun,
Essentially a friendly person makes other people feel good and feel comfortable and feel cared about. If we can teach children who find it tricky to use some of these traits they will give off a friendly vibe which will often be reciprocated and which will help them fell happier and relaxed and as a consequence more friendly naturally
I do believe it is possible to teach friendliness and by breaking it down into small components our children can practice one or two of these at a time. Once they get friendly feedback form smiling or saying hi more often, they will begin to see it is worth the effort and eventually the behaviour will become habits.
Why not have go at asking them this questionable and encouraging them to try out a few of the traits they identify. Good luck!
My healthy friendship conversation cards are a pack of 48 questions plus guidance notes to help you support your children with their friendships – available from Amazon : Healthy Friendships