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How can I teach my son to make friends?

My 7-year-old son has a serious heart condition.  He's in a new school and attending second grade. As an only child, he is having a hard time making friends. Playdates are out of the question because most parents work, leaving kids in after-school programs. I can't put him in sports because of his condition. He's also a little awkward because he's so shy.  I'm extremely attached to him and I want to protect him against mean kids, but how can I teach him to fend for himself? And how can I learn to let go?

Submitted by Veronicavml22

Teach your child to make friends by having the playdates at your home to motivate your inhibited/introverted child. If weekday playdates are difficult, set aside weekend time to invite friends so you can oversee the play. Have just one friend visit at a time, to avoid overwhelming your shy child, but rotate the different friends.  They should all be classmates so that school time can then become more enjoyable for all involved.  Have back-up games and activities planned to make the playdates work.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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