With the digital age looming large, bonding is getting rare amongst kids. Be it family or friends, only few kids wish to be connected. With the constant use of mobile and gadgets, children today are content in the digital pace which is their comfort zone. Entertainment, projects as well as bonding is all available on a handset. While technology isolates people , it is also an important part in all our lives. Technology is going to stay. It is so very essential to improve social skills in children of all ages. An effort is needed to nurture bonds with our family, extended families, friends. This way we help children become more social, empathetic, accepting and kind.
As a psychologist and also speech and drama teacher, most parents come to me saying their child is shy and not able to make friends. One parent whose child is only 3 years old also mentioned, “It is affecting his personality.” Social anxiety is rampant these days with the pressure of being accepted in a challenging world for teenagers. This is a very common teen problem especially when the child completes his/her school life. One of the biggest challenge is to how to make new friends. How to break the ice – is commonplace.
One of the best ways is to help children bond with new people in the circle. This provides a challenge for them to break their own stereotypical approach of contacting kids of their own age or also stay safe with kids who share the same likes and dislikes.
Few tips to help children bond:
- Play dates are suitable for young kids between 3-6 years.
- Allow them to join a story telling session or activity class.
- Let them accompany you and learn from your social skills.
- Go for family outings where new as well as far off family members are invited.
- Include new friends in the group of all ages.
- Make it interesting with sports and team games. This suits all ages.
- Dumb charades is the oldest way strangers bond.
- Organize community bonding with pot luck or sports or volunteer for a cause.
- Celebrate festivals together.
- Go on an adventure trip.
As a family we tried the tenth one. Our recent trip to a tiger reserve created a strong bond among all of us, including our children. Earlier the teens were reticent to mix with the preteens but slowly age did not matter. Be it feeling ill during the trip, sharing food, sacrificing the corner seat or providing water to others, the elders and kids worked all of it well.
The bond is evident in the smiles.