play dates

The Best Ways to support kids in social situations

The Best Ways to support kids in social situations

I was invited to join a group of wonderful bloggers to write for the series Happy New Year, Healthy Kids. This series is focused on ways we can help our kids be happy and healthy in this new year. But what do social skills and friendship have to do with health?

Think for a minute about the positive friendships in your life. Healthy friendships provide support, make you feel connected with others, reduce your stress and increase your happiness. It’s so wonderful to have these people around you! In order for kids to start and maintain friendships so they can experience these benefits too, kids need to learn social skills and how to interact positively with others.

Social Skill Autopsy

Social Skill Autopsy

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of the book It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend by Richard Lavoie. I absolutely love this book, and I wanted to focus in particular on one of his interventions that can help kids learn from their social errors in the moment - The Social Skill Autopsy. Addressing a social misstep and using it as a teachable moment is a great way to help kids identify what went wrong and what they could try again the next time.  

What is a good friendship?

What is a good friendship?

If your child is trying to figure out who would be a good friend, or who would be a good peer to invite over for a playdate, start by talking with them about what to look for in a friend.  There are so many different attributes your child might want in a potential friend, but they may not always be the best things to look for in someone.  If your child is having a hard time making friends, they might say they’d like to be friends with the most popular child or the one that has the biggest, coolest stuff in their house. It makes sense to talk about attributes and characteristics they want to see in someone they’d want in a friendship. Here is a brief list of characteristics you can use as a starting point for a conversation about attributes in a good friendship:

Why I like play dates

Why I like play dates

                        Just because it's scheduled time doesn’t mean it lacks imagination.

Kids need to play in order to practice creativity and flexibility, solve problems and learn ways to regulate emotions, and I’ve already addressed the importance of play in this blog post.  A new phenomenon in play has evolved since I was a child, the scheduled play date.  The play date has been getting some negative press recently, with people listing all the things they don’t like about them.  There are pros and cons to everything, so I decided to explain why I appreciate play dates. I’ve found them to be helpful for a number of the children I‘ve worked with over the years, and I schedule play dates for my own children from time to time.

5 Helpful hints for a play date at your home

5 Helpful hints for a play date at your home

Play dates are a popular way for kids to get together and hang out, but some kids struggle on play dates.  If you think your child may have difficulty on a play date, it may work best to have a first play date with a new friend at your own house.  Your child may feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. You’ll be able to keep an eye and ear out during the play date so you can  step in if things start to break down. Here are some helpful hints when setting up and hosting a play date at your home.

Book Review: “How to make and keep friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges"

Book Review: “How to make and keep friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges"

This is an awesome book! It covers 50 social situations and gives ten tips for how to manage each situation successfully.  The authors cover a lot of social situations, such as how to join a group or managing conversation challenges.  

5 Great Games for Play Dates

5 Great Games for Play Dates

Just in time for the holiday rush, here are 5 games that are good for small playdates with 2 or more kids. For children that struggle on play dates it’s helpful to have games that are easy to explain and don’t take too long to complete.  The following games all match that description. They’re quick for kids to pick up and play, the first time or the 100th time.  

5 Strategies for Planning Play

5 Strategies for Planning Play

Here are five strategies you can use to help set the stage for an enjoyable play experience:

1.  Incorporate different types of play.

A child who plays well is comfortable with many forms of play.  Some categories of play include gross motor, fine motor, pretend play, construction, sensory, etc.  Gross motor activities include tag, obstacles courses and races.  Activities like rainbow loom or stringing beads are more fine motor play.  Some popular themes of pretend play include restaurant, school and space.  Construction can be out of all kinds of different materials like blocks, play doh, or even recycling.  Sensory can be using sand, rice or beans. Exposure to different types of play leads to valuable experiences.

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