With all the technology available to help manage our lives and work, cyberspace has become the new place to also manage our friends. For children who are still developing these important social skills, this technology of social networks can actually hinder our child’s values of friendship and how they can make new friends in the real world. Here are some things you can do to help your child become more social:
Set limits on all technology: phone, TV and video games, and internet use such as:
• No phones at the dinner table
• Complete all homework before watching TV, playing video games, or going online.
• Turn everything off by a certain hour to keep a consistent bedtime routine.
• Set Parental Controls on the internet and television in your home.
Set an Example
• Follow your own house rules. Your calls and emails can wait until after dinner too.
• Invite your friends and family over so your children can see how adult friendships and interactions work.
• Teach your child the definition of a true friend and who a friend is not. Explain that it’s not as easy as “friending” or “un-friending” someone
• Practice saying Hi with your child to other parents and kids at school, the park or playground. You can meet someone new by simply saying hello no matter how shy your child may be, all they need is for you to help them break the ice.
• Invite neighborhood children over to your home to give your child a chance to develop a circle of new friends close to home.
• Make play dates at parks and play grounds.
• Enroll your child in after school activities.
• Marilyn Randall, Making Friends Without Facebook http://www.sonorannews.com/booknook/book-faithfulfriends.html