Everyone’s different when it comes to how they approach the socialization of children (and themselves). Some parent get an early jump on the whole friend accruing process by arranging playdates for pre-verbal children or really emphasizing social cues. Others prefer to lean back and see what happens if kids aren’t just aping mom and dad. Both approaches can work, but there are some socialization lessons that absolutely need to be taught by all parents. Most of these have do to with the importance of the Golden Rule and Golden Rule-inspring behaviors like saying “please” and “thank you” and not biting. Beyond that, parents may have to grapple with complicated questions. How should parents introduce their kid to another? What should they keep an eye out for during playdates? And does everything they’ve learned change when it’s time for a kid to start school?
Answer might not be easy to come by, but they are out there, which is why Fatherly built this guide to socializing kids. We talked to therapists, behavioral scientists, and more to find out everything there is to know about setting up playdates, teaching kids to share, preparing them for school, and, of course, table manners.