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Old March 25th, 2002, 11:21 AM   #1
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Preschool and Elementary

It seemed like the only group missing lol
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Old March 25th, 2002, 11:24 AM   #2
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Making Friends - Preschoolers

Hope this is not too long. Very interesting and helpful for people concerned about their children making friends...

From "Encouraging Social Skills in Young Children:Tips Teachers Can Share with Parents" by JACQUELYN MIZE & ELLEN ABELL"

<center><font size=5>Specific steps parents can take to enhance children's social skills <font size=3></center>
<b>Provide children with opportunities to play with peers.</b> There is no substitute for the experience children gain from interacting with peers. ... Children <b>especially benefit when they can develop long- lasting relationships.</b> ...<br>
<b>Play with children in a "peer- like' way, just for the sake of having fun.</b>... Children whose parents frequently play with them have more advanced social skills and get along better with peers...Observational studies indicate that the parents of the most socially competent children laugh and smile often, avoid criticizing their child during play, are responsive to the child's ideas, and aren't too directive...<br>
Children benefit from this type of play for several reasons. From balanced, responsive play with a parent, children may learn many of the skills commonly displayed by the socially competent preschoolers described earlier. In addition, when parents are responsive to children's play ideas, children may come to feel that they are good, effective play partners and thus are eager to play with peers. Finally, fun, balanced parent-child play may instill that positive outlook toward others that makes children look forward to play opportunities with people outside the family.

<b>Talk with children about social relationships and values.</b> Children who have more frequent conversations with a parent about peer relationships are better liked by other children in their classrooms and are rated by teachers as more socially competent (Laird, Pettit, Mize, & Lindsey, 1994). As a part of normal, daily conversation, these parents and children talk about the everyday events that happen in preschool, including things that happen with peers.<br>

<b>Take a problem-solving approach</b>. Parents don't have to know the answers to all children's problems to talk to them in helpful ways. For example, a kindergarten child told her father of a girl in her class who she described as being "mean to everybody," and to whom everyone else was, in turn, "mean." In a conversational way, the father asked his daughter questions about what she thought night be happening between the other child and her classmates. Through the discussion, the daughter concluded that the child might be acting "mean" because she thought no one -in the class liked her and decided, as a gesture of goodwill, to draw a picture and give it to the unpopular child. <b>This father didn't dismiss his daughter's concerns, or trivialize their complexity by offering an easy answer, and he didn't lecture her or quiz her. Instead, he engaged her in a conversation that offered her support to consider the problem for herself.</b>

When problem-solving, parents can help children consider various solutions and perspectives. In observations of mothers and fathers talking to their preschool children, we find that <b>parents of the most competent children often consider with the child multiple approaches to situations and reflect on potential consequences of each course of action</b> (Mize & Pettit, 1994):

Mom: Hmmm, gosh, what if he grabs your truck again, what do you think you'll do?
Child: I'd probably just whap him upside his head!
Mom: You would? What'd he do, do you think, if you whapped him?
Child: He'd give it back and never take it again!
Mom: You think so? You don't think he'd just whap you back, and ya'll 'd get in a big ol' fight and then he wouldn't want to play
with you again?
Child: Oh, yea.
Mom: What else could you try?
Child: Say, "please?"
Mom: That'd be a nice thing to try. Do you think it?d work?
Child: No.
Mom: Well, maybe not. It might, but it might not, huh?
Child: I could say, "I'll come get you when I'm done."
Mom: Hey, that's an idea. That works sometimes with your sister, doesn't it?

<b>Children who are encouraged to think in terms of others' feelings and needs are more positive and prosocial with peers (Zahn-Waxler, Radke-Yarrow, & King, 1979), and children whose parents talk with them more often about emotions are better liked by their kindergarten peers</b> <br><b>Endorse positive, relevant strategies</b>. While its a good idea to problem-solve by helping children consider various optionsand perspectives, a parent does not need to treat all potential solutions as equally good.... Children react more positively to peers who try to solve problems by negotiation or compromise rather than through tattling, aggression, or verbal coercion ("I won't play with you anymore' or "I won't be your friend") <br>

Child: I'd say, "Could I cook, too, please."
Mom: That'd be nice. But what if they want to keep cooking?
Child: Uh, I would just go play by myself.
Mom: Sure, you could do that. But, there's a table and some dishes. What happens when you go to a restaurant? When you
want something to eat?
Child: You say, "Bring me a hamburger!"
Mom: Yeah! Maybe you could be a customer and order dinner?
Child: Oh, yea.<br>
<b>Reflect a positive, resilient attitude toward social setbacks</b>... Socially competent children, in contrast, tend to explain these rejections as temporary or in ways that recognize that a social situation can be improved by changing their own behavior (I'll have to talk louder so they hear," or "I'll try to be friendlier next time"). Sometimes these children recognize that the situation itself led to the rejection, such as the child whose request to play was refused by two of his peers. "Well, of course I couldn't play," he said, "I should have noticed they only had two trucks!"

<b>Parents of these socially competent children endorse interpretations of social events that encourage resilient, constructive attitudes (Mize, Pettit, Lindsey, & Laird, 1993). Rather than making a statement such as, "That's a really mean kid!" they may say something like, "Gosh, maybe he's having a hard day." They make constructive attributions such as, "Sometimes kids just want to play by themselves," rather than expressing a sentiment like, 'They're not very nice if they won't let you play." These parents avoid defeatist comments such as "Maybe they don't like you," and offer instead suggestions like, "Maybe they don't want to play that, but there might be something else they think is fun." Such positive, constructive statements encourage children to take an optimistic view of others and themselves as play partners. They reflect an upbeat, resilient attitude toward social setbacks and the belief that social situations can be improved with effort and positive behavior.... </b>
While parents of competent preschoolers do take the time to structure play opportunities and assist their children in interpreting their play experiences, they do not interfere in children's ongoing play unless it is necessary<br>
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