Learning Friendship Skills Should Be Fun!
by Nadine Briggs
Not only should having friends be fun but our philosophy is that learning how to make friends should be fun too!
I saw a video recently of a person who runs social skills groups who mentioned that the kids who attend don’t enjoy it. It was really sad. There are ways to teach social skills that are enjoyable.
Simply Social Kids is different from many other social skills programs in several aspects (see graphic below for a comparison). One difference is that we are decidedly non-clinical in our approach. This means that we do not offer “treatment” in a “clinical” setting.
What does that mean and why is it important?
Our program provides coaching in an activity and game-based environment whether online or in person. We emphasize the fun side of friendship so our program is enjoyable.
For example, last week we used ping pong balls and conversation starters in our teen groups to get the kids talking. I was thrilled at the buzz of conversation in the room! Many of the kids we work with have social anxiety so to hear all of them chatting was literally music to my ears! More importantly, they felt successful conversing with teens that might not know very well.
Our opinion is that children and teens with ADHD, high functioning autism, and anxiety need to learn what it takes to make friends and how to keep those friends. They need to someone to tell them how to initiate and sustain a conversation and how to read social cues. They need to learn what it really takes to be interested in someone else’s life. We help them to connect the dots and give them the tools they need to form friendships.
Nearly all of the kids and teens in our program struggle with anxiety. The anxiety must be addressed since most people who struggle with social skills tend to be anxious in social settings. It is certainly understandable to feel uncertain given past experiences of not being able to form friendships.
Many people who haven’t had social successes in life might lose their ability to be resilient when they have faced repeated rejection. They might decide that they will always feel awkward around others and think that friendship is not for them. We have to coach them on how to be resilient and smooth out the bumpy aspects of how they interact with peers. Our program gives them what they need to learn friendship skills, practice those skills with peers, and enjoy the process.
Friends are fun and learning how to get friends should be fun too (and it is).
If your child or teen needs coaching to help them make friends, contact us to schedule a trial https://calendly.com/simplysocialkids/30min or find out more about our weekly programs or Just for Fun clubs or learn more by contacting us at https://www.simplysocialkids.com/.