Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Kids on the Block? 3 Ways to Help Your Kids Make Friends When They're New to Louisville

Have kids? Then as you know, after moving to a new city and new neighborhood, children may have a hard time adjusting and establishing new friendships. Here are a few great ways to help them get started on the right foot in a new environment.

Sign Them Up for a Regular Extracurricular Activity

You're killing two birds with one stone with an extracurricular activity—you're getting the kids off the couch and active for one to two hours at a time, and also enabling them to have natural interaction with other kids their age in a setting ripe for bonding. What are your child's biggest interests? Whether it's arts and crafts, taking care of animals, or building houses out of Lego, there are lots of potential avenues where your child can participate as a volunteer on a regular basis in a setting they feel passionate about. Team sports are a good idea, because it helps develop their physical skills as well as gives them enough space such that Mom and Dad aren't standing over their shoulder monitoring them at every moment.

Louisville community centers, such as Sun Valley, offer all sorts of activities, from children's archery to Tae Kwon Do, on a weekly basis. Their open fitness rooms offer everything from scrapbooking, to basketball and line dancing, and kids of all different ages can attend. What's most important is that your child can find a positive area where they can interact with others—younger and older—to develop friendships important to their emotional maturity.

Arrange Play Dates Through Their School Network

If you've arrived in the new city intent on participating in school activities via the Parent Advisory Committee, getting to know other parents and arranging consequent play dates with your children and the children of other parents isn't a bad idea. You'll get to build your own network within the city as well as encourage your child to make new friends from their school. As a side benefit, getting a rehash of "what really happened" that day in school never hurts.

It's About Interacting With Others

The important thing to realize is that friendships ultimately can't be forced. For your children, it's about setting them up for success in non-threatening environments that allow them to interact with others in a real, non-digital setting to grow their social skills and social network. It can be as simple as time at the school playground; all you’ll have to do is take them there and let them play with other kids after school for half an hour, or give your child the permission and gentle encouragement to play with the neighbor's son in your backyard.

If your child is shy, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t socialize. They'll gradually get used to meeting new people if they have been socialized to do so on a regular basis. Remember, the unlikeliest friendships have cropped up in all sorts of places. What's important is that on some level, you have your children real listening and speaking skills that will give them a positive launching pad off which they can develop their own friendships.

About the Author:  Joe Hayden is the Team Owner and Manager of the Joe Hayden Real Estate Team - !

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