group of happy teenage friends holding hands outdoors

All children need friends and all children need to see their friends outside of school and to have a social life. A child’s social life can look very different amongst peers. For some it could be going to lots of parties, having regular sleepovers and seeing their friends most days outside of school. For other children, they would be happy with seeing friends every other weekend for a few hours.

I don’t know many children who don’t want some kind of a social life but it is something that a few children struggle with. How do they get to be more sociable? Well, we start by identifying who they would like to see socially. We make a list of those children. We then discuss when they are free to do something social and look at what they could do with their friends. What would their parents allow them to do, given their age and how streetwise they are. and what will their friends parents let them do?

Once we have a clear list of who, when and what they need to decide if they see one friend at a time or if they get their friends together as a group. For example, they may want to go to the cinema with a friend on a Sunday afternoon or invite friends over for a pizza and movie on a Saturday night. Are they a one-to-one type of person or someone who likes to be in a group?

Boosting A Child’s Social Life

We can start to work out how they are going to make these social plans happen. What means will they use to make these arrangements? Do they need to set up a group on WhatsApp or text their friend? What are they going to put in the message? They need to be specific as to their suggestion with the time and the day they propose. They should also ask the other person/friends if they are free on that day and if not when are they next free.

It can also help (if the plan they are suggesting is quite soon), that their friend/friends let them know by a certain date. It’s really hard to arrange a group social gathering and know how many snacks to buy if you don’t know the numbers.  Parents might need to help them with what to say.

They may even decide to make several plans for the future and see which ones work out. This is great if they decide that they’d like a few plans in the diary and have several things to look forward to.

For a child who is not very social but wants to be, they need to start somewhere. Once they have made and carried out a plan it should give them the confidence to make more plans. The more social they are the higher chance they have of being invited to other gatherings or events.

If you would like some help with encouraging your child to improve their social life please get in touch with me about life coaching sessions for children and teenagers.