As a parent, you obviously want your children to have the best experience at school. You want them to learn, grow, make friends, and learn social cues that help them excel as adults. But when a child comes home from school and says, “I don’t fit in,” what do you do?
Hook them up with the latest styles
Kids often look around them and notice the differences between themselves and others. It’s wonderful to be unique and stand out, and you should teach your child this fundamental truth. However, also recognize that it can help them fit in with the crowd if they’re dressed like those around them and have the same gear.
Go shopping for clothing and shoes that fit in with the latest styles. Kids backpacks, lunch boxes, and other accessories will also help them feel like part of the crowd. This does not have to be expensive, because there are budget ways to find the latest and greatest styles without wasting money on designer brands. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in the eyes of children.
Keep them busy
Your kids will naturally fit in at school if they have something in common with the other kids. Sports, music, dance, drama, and clubs are all excellent opportunities for kids to socialize and find their tribes.
Don’t force your children to do something they don’t want to do, however. If they’re stuck in an activity that they don’t enjoy and aren’t good at, it will make them feel more out of place. Let them shop around a little until they find activities they enjoy.
Often, fitting in at school is a process that starts at home. Invite other children of your child’s choosing to your house to play. You might have the occasional multi-child playdate to get your kid more involved with others.
During these playdates, children will build social skills that will help them at school. Additionally, you’ll have an opportunity to observe them at play. There may be a reason that they’re struggling to fit in at school, such as an unwillingness to share. Once you identify the problem, you can address it.
Teach them young
It’s great to address problems after they occur, but it’s better if you teach them how to fit in when they’re still young. Their young years are the formative ones, where their personalities develop and they pick up on social cues. Working with your kids when they’re young will help them fit in better when they’re older.
For example, teach them to say “please” and “thank you.” Encourage them to share and avoid talking over others. Explain how to pick up on body language and facial expressions to respond appropriately. With this information, it won’t be too difficult for them to pick it up and use it in their daily lives.
Provide specialized attention for each child who may have unique issues. For instance, your child may have personal space issues and is unable to give other kids their own space. Another child might not realize that he’s talking too loudly. Working with these unique problems will help them better connect with others and avoid social problems.
Boost their confidence
It’s a simple fact that people are drawn towards those who are confident. Social cues, trendy accessories, and similar talents all help people connect, but those who are truly confident don’t need those things to fit in.
Work on boosting your children’s confidence. Be sure to tell them when they’ve done something well, and let them participate in things they’re good at. As they feel more confident, they’ll attract friends and make greater social connections that can help them now and in the future.