Is your child lonely, sad, or angry? Would you like to teach your child how to make friends? If you don’t know how, I’ll share the secrets here.

First you need to know that research tells us the average child spends 25 hours in front of the TV each week.TV characters become their “friends” and their role models.

Speaking about role models, I remember teaching a new class of first graders. Everyone, except two little boys, was sitting tall in anticipation of story time. The two boys were rolling around slugging it out on the floor in the back of the room.

“Boys, what are you doing,” I asked. “We’re fighting. He’s Tom and I’m Jerry. You know, in the cartoon,” said the boy on top. “Don’t worry,” said the other. We do this all the time.”

Years later, as a child and family counselor, parents brought me their sad, angry and lonely kids.

These kids had one thing in common, “Nobody liked them. They had no friends.” They didn’t know how to make friends either. I’d ask them how they spent their time. “TV,” they’d answer.

I worried about these kids.

One day, while at my in-laws, I shuffled through their bookcase and picked out a book that opened my eyes. Suddenly, I knew how to help these kids. Can you guess which book?

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

It was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I knew I could bring these social skills down to a child’s level. I knew I could help parents teach the ideas in this book to their kids

But some parents said, “I don’t have time,” until I asked them, “Do you take your kids to games, music lessons, and doctor appointments? Do you eat dinner together? Do you put your kids to bed at night? Because if you do, you may have more time than you think.” So, parents, how do you teach social skills?

Parenting Tip – Role Play Social Skills with Kids

Yes, you role play. You and your child practice acting out a scene with a social skill your child needs to learn. Your child becomes the youngster he wants as a friend. Then switch roles. Do this several times.

Parenting Tip – Use Charts to Help Your Kids Make Friends

Make a chart with the social skill he’s learning. At the top it might say, “My goal is to practice smiling and being upbeat with everyone I see.” Give your child a star each time he tells you how he was friendly.

Each week teach your child a new social skill. Role play it at home. Tell your child, “Practice at school, in the neighborhood, and at sports practices.” Add his new social skill to his chart too.

Can you see how simple it is to role play? Can you see role playing a social skill in the car, at dinner, or at bedtime? Can you imagine how happy your child will feel making friends?

Conclusion for Teaching Your Kids How to Make Friends

Start teaching social skills today. Practice them yourself. If you do, you’ll raise a friendly child and you’ll enjoy being friendlier too.

Jean Tracy, MSS, invites you to receive 80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids when you subscribe to her parenting newsletter at

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If 3 character tips could stop your angry child from exploding, would you use them? If so, look inside for 3 parenting ideas that are sure to help.

Temper can be a volcano blazing out of control. It blows its top without thinking. It demands what it wants or else. There’s no room for reason. If your child’s a volcano, you’ve got work to do.

When your child is calm, take time to discuss anger, its cause, and its solution.

I know you’re wondering how. Before I tell you, grab a piece of paper and ask your child to draw a volcano at the top. When your child is in a good mood, discuss, write out, and memorize the 3 truths below. Those truths are to be posted on your bulletin board, wall, or refrigerator. They’ll remind your child to think without exploding.

Character Tips – 3 Irrational Ideas to Discuss and 3 Truths to Teach:

Consider discussing the following irrational ideas one at a time. Ask your child to brainstorm more examples. Write out and memorize the truths that follow.

First Irrational Idea – Things have to go my way. Talk about the weather. Remember a time when your daughter wanted sunshine but it rained. Perhaps it rained during her soccer game. No matter how hard she wanted sunshine the weather didn’t go away.

Tell her, “Lots of things don’t go our way. When you and I get angry, we’re demanding that things we can’t control go our way. But we’re not the King of the Universe. We don’t have the power.”

Brainstorm other situations that prove we’re not the King of the Universe. Discuss why exploding won’t help but using our gift of reason will.

Action Step – Write the truth, “Things don’t have to go my way” under your child’s picture of the volcano. Tell her to memorize this truth and say it often when she feels angry.

Second Irrational Idea – People have to behave the way I want them to. Discuss times when people didn’t act the way your son wanted. Perhaps his teacher disciplined him when he wasn’t the one who bullied the little girl on the playground. Tell him, “People don’t act the way you want because they act the way they want.”

Brainstorm and discuss other situations when people didn’t do what he wanted, like when his sister wouldn’t loan him some money.

Action Step – Write the truth, People don’t have to act the way I want, on the volcano paper. Tell him to memorize this truth and say it often when he’s tempted to blow his top.

Third Irrational Idea – I have to get the things I want. Discuss a time when your daughter didn’t receive the birthday gift she wanted. Perhaps it was a child’s guitar. Yet she survived the disappointment. Tell her, “There will be lots of times you won’t get what you want. Bursting your top won’t get you what you want. But it might get you in trouble.”

Brainstorm and discuss other situations where she didn’t get what she wanted.

Action Step – Write the truth, “I don’t have to get what I want,” on the piece of paper. Tell her to memorize it and calmly say it when she’s upset.

Conclusion ~ Character Tips that Stop Your Angry Child from Exploding:

Be your child’s model. When things go wrong for you, calm yourself aloud with one of the above truths. Discuss the 3 parenting tips and their truths whenever good examples arise. Praise your child when she or he repeats the words. If you do, you’ll be turning an exploding mind into a rational mind. You’ll be building character too.

Jean Tracy, MSS, invites you to subscribe to her FREE top-rated Parenting Newsletter, “Tips and Tools for Character Builders” at and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

It’s not easy being a parent, particularly of young children. Whether you have one, three, five or more children, the premise is the same: It’s your job to provide 24/7 care for these little people. How do you do this without becoming completely exhausted? Here are some energy-saving ideas:

1. Chunking. This simply means mentally dividing your life into chunks instead of a thousand little to-dos which can easily overwhelm you. For example, all you have to do today is get the kids ready, run errands, play with them, and orchestrate the evening routine.

2. Buy in bulk twice a year. Call your local big-box store or retailer of choice and ask when they have their best sales each year. Plan to shop only during those periods and buy every non-perishable item you think you’ll need for the entire year. For example, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, diapers, wipes, cornstarch baby powder, toilet paper, paper towels (or extra dish cloths, a more environmentally friendly choice), trash bags, lotion, birthday/holiday cards, etc. This will save you so many hours of shopping and gallons of gas that you would have spent on frequent trips to the store.

3. Delegate. You’re not the only one living in your house so why should you do everything? Enlist your family to help you. Some families make a list of chores and post it on the refrigerator. Each family member (or if your kids are little, just you and your partner) chooses the chore they like best – or the chore they find the least objectionable.

4. Say “yes” to everything. Sounds crazy, but hear me out. The more you say yes to things, the more friends you will have. The more friends you make, the more help you will receive when you need it. Give what you need and eventually it will come back to you.

5. Don’t do everything for them. Okay, if your kids are very little you more or less have to do everything for them. But if they are around three years or older, teach them to do things for themselves. The sooner they are self-sufficient, the easier your life will be. Plus this helps your children build self-esteem when they can do things for themselves.

6. Stick to the routine and you’ll reap the rewards. Do you have friends whose kids go to bed late at night or whenever they want to? They need sleep and you need time to yourself and time with your partner. Enforce a consistent bedtime policy each night and watch how easy it becomes to put them to bed.

7. Be flexible. Make a daily to-do list but be prepared to ditch it if something more fun comes along. Or, with kids, you never know who is going to get sick at the last minute, act like a crybaby, or just feel clingy. Your main job is to be there for them; the rest of it can wait.

Most importantly, remember that they are only young for a short time. Ask any empty-nester and they’ll tell you that time goes by so quickly. Be sure to take some time each and every single day to focus on and really notice just how precious your children are.

Katie B. Marsh is author of The Parenting Game Plan: Negotiate, Compromise and Explore the Parenting Journey Together. A Unique Workbook to Help New and Expectant Parents.

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