Sensational: Friendship

Pediatric Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

January 2019

“Notice Any Challenges In Your Child’s Social Life?” HELPING CHILDREN NAVIGATE FRIENDSHIPS

As adults, it’s easy to recognize the importance of hanging out with friends. Friends boost our self-esteem, enrich our experiences, and provide moral support when life gets tough. From the standpoint of developmental milestones, making friends is equally as important (if not more so) than earning an A in school. Yet for many kids, learning how to make -- and maintain -- friendships is a skill that takes constant refining. (continued inside)

Pediatric Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

January 2019

“Friendship Is A Great Way For Your Child To Learn About Collaboration!” HELPING CHILDREN NAVIGATE FRIENDSHIPS

Inside: • Presenting Positive Friendships To Your Children

• Nutrition Corner

• Patient Spotlight

For some children, fitting in is a struggle. Cornerstones of childhood interaction, such as taking turns or engaging in pretend play, eludes them. This can be especially true for children who have special needs. For those who face developmental, physical, or emotional challenges, social skills may not come naturally. Though parents and teachers can’t make friends for children, there are ways to help kids develop and build social skills -- both in and out of school. If you know a child who has a difficult time making friends or winds up getting rejected by their peers, here are some useful tips to help. Act as an Emotion Coach Though everyone experiences negative emotions and selfish impulses, keeping these in check is important to making friends. Research shows that when parents and teachers speak to children about emotions in a empathetic,problem-solvingmanner,kids formbetteremotionalself-control.

This, in turn, leads to stronger socialization abilities on the playground, during playdates, and in the classroom. On the contrary, children whose are often punished for strong emotions (“Just go to your room to cool off”) or have their emotions trivialized (“You’re being ridiculous”) tend to struggle with self-control. This, in turn, leads to greater difficulty making and sustaining friendships. Keep Playdates and Hang Time Short When children of any age are just getting to know one another, it’s best to limit their together time to one or two hours during a playdate and far shorter times in the classroom. Although there’s a risk that the time together has to end when things are getting fun, it is far better to cut activities short than have them linger too long. Much longer than that and there’s a high risk of arguing, which will just leave everyone reluctant to try again.

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PRESENTING POSITIVE FRIENDSHIPS TO YOUR CHILDREN

Practice Kindness Encourage children to engage in small acts of kindness.This may be hugging a friendwho issador lendingapencil toaclassmatewho lacksone.Kindness tends to beget kindness, which is a great way to start a friendship. That said, Psychology Today issues some warnings about being overly or inappropriately kind. When children try to buy friends through giving gifts or money, it is often not reciprocated. Instead, the receiver may lose respect for the giver if it keeps happening, as this behavior wreaks of desperation rather than kindness. For this reason, it’s important for teachers to keep an eye on how friendships are being made and for parents to be aware if money or valuable toys go missing. It’s also worth noting that kindness is defined by its impact, not its intent. Some children go overboard by being excessively affectionate or insisting that a peer only hang out with them. Neither of these are apt to go over well, and instead act as a deterrent to friendships. Build Hang Time Around an Activity The surest way to playdate failure is having bored kids. To avoid this, plan the hang time around a fun activity, such as splashing in the wading pool, making individual pizzas, or playing a board game. Bear in mind that mainstream kids will likely enjoy all of the activities that children with special needs enjoy, so this can be a win-win all the way around. In the classroom, try to ensure that all kids have a role in group work and that there isn’t too much time just spent sitting without work. As a child navigates the world of friendships and disappointments, expect the occasional heartache (for both of you). Also recognize that children have different ways of engaging, including parallel play. Realize that a child may be an introvert as well, which means that friendships are important, but so is down time.

CALL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT! FREDERICKSBURG : (540) 841-4443 or WOODBRIDGE : (540) 841-4443

Patient Spotlight

“We have seen wonderful improvements!” “Sensational Kidz Therapy has convenient scheduling for my child’s physical and occupational therapy appointments. Her therapists are kind, gentle and always willing to provide feedback on how she is doing. We have seen wonderful improvements.” - S. Jones

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SPICED PEAR TEA RECIPE INGREDIENTS • 1 orange • 3 cups water • 2 (11.3 to 12 oz) cans pear nectar • 1 tbsp honey (optional)

• 4 inches stick cinnamon • 1 tsp whole cloves • 6 tea bags • Small orange slices, halved (optional) • Stick cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS Using a vegetable peeler, remove three wide strips of peel from the orange; set peel aside. Juice the orange into a large saucepan. Add the water, pear nectar and honey (if using) to orange juice in saucepan. For spice bag: Place the 4 inches of stick cinnamon, the cloves and the orange peel strips in the center of a 6-inch square of double-thickness, 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with 100%-cotton kitchen string. Add spice bag to pear nectar mixture. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and spice bag; discard. Serve in warm mugs. If desired, float orange slices on top of individual servings and serve with additional stick cinnamon.

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