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How to Expand Your Preschooler’s Social Circle

Your preschooler has a small group of close friends, a group that has been together since they were able to crawl.  Your child (and all people) benefit from new influences to broaden their perspectives and enhance their social skills.  Here are a few tips to help you expand your preschooler’s social circle.

  • Lead by example. Your preschooler needs to see you welcoming new people into your life, embracing new and different ideas, and valuing the diversity that comes from a well rounded social circle.
  • Speak to your preschooler about what you value in new social interactions. For example, you may say, “I love learning new things. Whenever I make a new friend, I find new ways of looking at and doing things. There are a bunch of different ways of thinking and doing things in this world, and it takes all of them to make this world work the way it does, so I really like learning more about that. I’m not saying that I have to think or do things the same way as anyone else does, just like nobody else has to think or do things the same way I do . . . what I’m saying is that it’s good (and fun) to learn more about ways of thinking and doing that are different than mine. I mean, I already know what I do and think about things; I like to learn what other people think and do. For example, you’d never had Mexican food until the family from Mexico moved in next door: they introduced you to Mexican food, and now you love it. If it weren’t for those new friends, you wouldn’t have heard about or learned that you like Mexican food.”
  • Inasmuch as your preschooler’s social circle is likely comprised by family members (i.e., siblings and cousins), neighborhood children, and preschool classmates, you can begin to expand your preschooler’s social circle within those same parameters. Host a subdivision party (rather than a block party); this will introduce your preschooler to other children near his age and home address. Suggest and sponsor a preschool field trip or holiday celebration that includes not just your child’s preschool but at least one other preschool as well; this will introduce your little one to other children his age, although these children may not live near him.
  • Continue the expansion by creating new avenues for social experience for your preschooler. Suggest and offer to plan and host a children’s holiday party within your office; your child can thus get to know the children of your co-workers. Enroll your child in a variety of lessons, such as dance, music (voice or instrumental), martial arts, visual arts (i.e., finger painting or drawing), ceramics, etc. Sign your child up for sports, such as track, soccer, football, etc. As a family, join and become active in a church, synagogue, or other religious organization. As a family or your child individually can join civic organizations that provide youth opportunities; these civic organizations include the YMCA/YWCA, Brownies/Girl and Boy Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls/Blue Birds. As a family, volunteer your time and talents for a child-oriented non-profit in your area (such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation).

By following the tips above, you can help expand your preschooler’s social circle so as to broaden his perspectives and enhance his social skills.

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