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welcome 2019-2020 How to help a child who struggles to make friends Realizing that your child is never invited to classmates’ birthday parties and seems to spend their days alone at school can be upsetting. Here’s what you can do to help. unDerstanD the cause Try to understand why your child is isolated. Perhaps they’re aggressive, shy or arrogant. Or maybe they’re being bullied. If you can’t find an explanation, talk with their teachers to get more insight into the matter. Ask your child about how they perceive their social situation and what they feel about it. They might be sad, angry or confused. However, some kids enjoy solitude. If your child doesn’t appear bothered by the situation, don’t force them to make friends. But if they’re lonely or feel excluded, try to help them come up with solutions. proviDe assistance anD support Sometimes kids need help bonding with other children. If this is the case with your child, bring them to the park or organize family outings that include kids in the same age group. Additionally, participating in extracurricular activities might allow your child to build confidence and meet others who share their interests. Above all, the most important thing to do is to communicate with them. Listen to what they have to say about their attempts to make friends. When they’re ready, allow them to forge bonds with others on their own terms. Fostering creativity in kids Creativity is an essential life skill as it allows for the ability to adapt to new situations and solve complex problems. Here are some ways you can help foster it. Designate time anD space for creating Provide kids with free time and a space at home where they can influence their environment. The key is to let them control the materials around them without parental interference. This can be as simple as setting up a corner with assorted art materials, a set of building blocks or a box of old clothes for dressing up. incluDe them in problem solving Creative thinking involves the capacity to recognize that most problems have multiple solutions. From an early age, children should be encouraged to come up with ways to resolve the complications experienced in their lives. For example, allow them to brainstorm ways they can keep their room clean or deal with a sibling who doesn’t want to share. They may still need your help to uncover the best answer to the problem, but their capacity to innovate may surprise you. encourage them to explore their interests Another key aspect of creativity involves following up on what stimulates delight or piques curiosity. Even • Talk to them. Gifted children tend to get bored in class because they feel that the standard learning pace is sluggish. This irritates many of them, and they’re likely to let you know if you ask them about it. Staff Certified by American Assoscation for Marriage & Family Therapy (309) 786-4491 512 Safety Building • 1800 3rd Avenue Rock Island, IL When you notice your children demonstrating fascination with something, encourage them to delve deeper by giving them more information or providing additional resources. Above all, parents who want to foster creativity in their kids should strive to step back and let their kids experience the world around them on their own terms. Unstructured play is key. Experimenting is essential and letting them try and fail will provide invaluable lessons. Is school too easy for my child? If your child is getting excellent grades and quickly mastering new concepts, you may have a little genius on your hands. If you think school is too easy for them, here’s what you can do. Marriage & Family Counseling Service the smallest spark of interest can ignite into a lifelong passion under the right circumstances. • Talk to their teachers. They’ll notice both your child’sacademicperformance and any signs of boredom they may be exhibiting. Teachers may also be able to provide more difficult assignments to keep your child engaged. • Talk to a professional. A psychologist or neuropsychologist can help determine just how gifted your child is, notably by measuring their intelligence quotient (IQ). They can also help you come up with a plan of action regarding your child’s education. Gifted children who aren’t challenged can lose motivation and become uninterested. That’s why acting early and coming up with a schooling strategy that works for them is key. Keep in mind that not all gifted children are high achievers. Psychologists suspect that many aren’t identified because they go directly to the uninterested phase and sometimes get misdiagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).