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Learning to make friends - a social and emotional learning story!

Friends are an important part of life for children and adults, and learning how to make new friends is a key life skill. In the Stella app, we have a category of social and emotional learning stories that'll help guide your child through learning key life skills. 

One of the most popular stories in this category is about Kitty the Cat, who learns how to make new friends. Making new friends can be daunting for shy children (and adults!). Some children may also take longer to make new friends than others for a variety of reasons (including developmental challenges, anxiety, hyperactivity, problems with focus and impulse control etc). Developing the skills to make new friends can be practiced and developed, and these materials can provide the basis for activities aimed at understanding the need for and gaining interpersonal skills. 

The story follows Kitty as she is faced with the prospect of entering a social situation that she has not been in before (starting playgroup and meeting new children). Kitty’s mum gives a few practical tips for strategies on how to start conversations with new people (saying “hi!”, and asking questions).

The learning activities for this story center around 3 strategies for gaining new friends:
  1. Starting conversations
  2. Listening to others
  3. Identifying social cues and following social rules

Participate in your child's learning process by practicing some of the strategies, such as: saying hello and asking a question while looking a person in the eyes (or face for children who have problems with social interaction), and asking good personal questions aimed at getting to know the other person. Talk to your child about social cues and social rules, and practice identifying social rules and cues in your daily life. Role-playing social scenarios can be a rewarding way to practice social interactions, and can help your child feel secure and prepared for new situations.