A child’s ability to develop good relationships is an extremely important step on the path to getting the best out of his or her life.
There are a number of ways you can support children and young people to make new relationships. These include:
• Being a good role model.
Children learn by example and one of the best ways you can teach them is through your own behaviour. You must ensure that the relationships you develop with other adults and children themselves are respectful. You should interact in a kind, supportive and caring way. You should be attentive, listen to what they have to say and accept their opinions. By doing this the children and young people you work with will learn through observation. They will know how your interaction with them makes them feel and hopefully strive to interact with others in a similar way.
• By being supportive.
You need to support them to learn to share, take turns and develop friendships from an early age. This could be done by developing their self confidence. You could introduce a shy child to a group of children you know to be kind and caring. Stay near the child but remain in the background so the child has independence to develop the relationship but has the reassurance of your presence to calm their nerves. You must not force relationships – if children do not wish to interact with each other this must be accepted or they will develop a negative relationship. If you do come across a situation like this you could work with the children to explore why they struggle to interact and have negative feelings towards each other. This helps them to develop an understanding of the dynamics of different people and although they may not become firm friends they will develop a relationship of understanding and tolerance.
• By being encouraging.
Children can sometimes struggle to understand the needs of others and think only of themselves. You need to gently encourage them to think about...