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How Can I Help my Child Prepare for new Social Situations?

Back-to-School time is here and there are many new and exciting social events coming up for your child!

So, how can you prepare your child for these events?

Start by setting expectations:

-Before attending a social event, talk to your child about who they will see and what they will do. This can help your child understand what to expect from others and also what can be expected from them.

-You can also share examples of times that they participated in a similar event with just you (e.g. swimming, birthday parties, etc.). This encourages them to recall how fun this event was and how the event they will be attending can be fun too!

Below is an example of what you can share with your child if they will be going to their friends house for the first time:

“You will be going to Jane’s house. You will see their mom, their dad, and their dog Max.”

“You and Jane have so much fun together at school and you can have fun at their house too!”

“Jane has so many toys and a pool that you can play in.”

“Jane’s dad will be making you dinner.”

“You can ask Jane’s mom to help you with anything just like you ask me.”

“You can call me anytime for anything.”

“I will pick you up at 8pm after you eat dinner with their family.”

“What is something you want to do at their house?”

In this example above, we have shared what to expect for the evening. We also shared who will be assisting them if they need anything. You can give your child a sense of security and safety by reminding them that you are a call away for anything. A visual schedule or writing what they will be doing can prepare them for transitions throughout the time they will be at the friend's house. Asking your child what they would like to do can excite them and give them a chance to share this with the friends' parents to build trust. By talking to your child before these new social situations, it can help reduce any feelings of nervousness and build their confidence when attending new social events.

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