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After the pandemic's big pause, your child may need help making friends. Method is as follows

This story explores ways to help children recover from some of what the pandemic has brought with patience and love. It's the second in a series. robbed.

(CNN)The pandemic of the past few years has not been the ideal environment for children to form or develop friendships. did.

At first there was physical isolation, which was a definite obstacle to building and maintaining connections. Then we moved on to navigating Covid-19 policies for individual families.Sure, our kids want to hang out. But parents and caregivers are on the same page about masking, open windows, and nasal monitoring. This was hard enough to judge an old friend, let alone a family member you had just met. The kids were rusty. They may have had friends, but from a parent or caregiver perspective, something was missing. It is the intimacy and dependency that we remember from our childhood friendships. Or, your child may have gone the school year without reporting anything about new and old friends.At times, this lack of connection didn't even seem to bother them.

18} "There was nothing we could do about social setbacks," said the education reporter and author of the forthcoming bookThe Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children's Lives, and Where We Go Now. Anya Kamenets said." "Now there is a social catch-up to do.

Perhaps all children entering this grade could use a little help in rebuilding their social bonds.

Challenge: Parents and guardians, we want your children to be able to make new friends and live You can help build friendships with your friends, no helicopter parenting necessary.

Why it matters: Friendships are essential to childhood, experts say. Not only for the self-evident reason that connecting with others feels good, but also because it creates important developmental opportunities that lead to higher functioning in school and in life.

A lot of it is through peers,” says Karen Van Orsdal, senior director of practice at CASEL, a collaborative practice for academic, social and emotional learning. “Friendship is a place to try out new ideas, practice new social skills, get out of your comfort zone, and share your feelings.” Just as important as family ties, friends are family members. It provides an important social outlet outside of the , where children can have more space to figure out who they are, she said. Here are some house-approved approaches.

Let's start from scratch

``Kids should practice little things like introducing themselves. What is it, would you like to play with me?" said VanAusdal. “Conversation starters, how to talk about apologies and sharing, and have them practice with their families first.”

, had his first play in kindergarten. As I was getting ready to meet my new classmate the night before, I followed this advice.

The next day he wasn't exactly doing well — he reportedly forgot to give his name and ask the children for their names.

model curiosity

"Parents, I think we can help children develop deeper friendships by asking them questions about their friends," said a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who said, "Emotionally Intelligent Parenting"One of the reasons friendships are not very deep is that children are often self-focused."

, they don't know the answers to half of the questions you ask them about friends old and new. (Except when they let me know there was a secret involved, which is also a sign of curiosity.)

Curiosity modeling can also occur in fictional realms. It's a really great way to have a conversation about," Kamenets said. In my experience, children may not immediately summarize the lessons and classroom dynamics they learn from Trolls World Tour, but these insights tend to percolate in meaningful ways over time. Yes.

You can also talk about your life. This isn't as exciting as a movie or TV show, but it has the added value of being real. "Share examples of how friendships are important to you, and young people will begin to understand the value of maintaining friendships over time.

Be open about potential friends

As parents and caregivers, whether we realize it or not, we tend to think about who the right friends are for our children. Kamenets suggests expanding our thinking about what kinds of friends children make and where those friends come from. Some kids do better, some older kids do better, and support that as well.”

Preach inclusivity. Be proactive in making sure your children understand that everyone belongs and that everyone is potential friend material.

One of the benefits of discussing inclusion in our home is that it can be a quirky hobby. Children are more comfortable about their differences, whether they are Jewish or that we are Jewish.By imagining a world that is an inclusive place, they can help themselves See it as belonging and participate in social situations a little more reliably. Try to encourage analog play if possible.

"Friendship can get stuck in the parallel play phase for a long time because of the electronics," Elias said. Parallel play, which is common in very young children, is when children play next to each other but are not engaged with each other. This kind of play makes it difficult to connect through conversation, which is the bread and butter of lasting relationships.

You may need a little digital time to comfortably resume socializing. For children who don't, Elias suggests playing a cooperative game. "Make sure there's interaction and conversation. They're working on something," he said.

Let's slow down

81} Whether clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, neurodiverse, or slightly more sensitive to the social stresses of the pandemic, some children find it difficult to repair friendships and make friends. , need to hold or support more hands than others. Experts say the most important thing is to go slow.

All of the above guidance may take longer, or occur in fits and starts, or in small doses, and that's fine. Kamentez said he's heard he's been doing a bunch of lunches at some schools. Small groups of children eat lunch with their teachers in the classroom or far from the potentially overwhelming cafeteria.

"My younger daughter was expressing her apprehensions about her birthday party," Camentes said. "But I knew it wouldn't help just to tell her, 'Hey, don't you want to go to her birthday party? It's fun.' You can leave."

For the first time, they followed the plan. But each time they stayed in succession, they stayed longer and longer, and her daughter had more and more fun - all at a pace that worked for her. }