Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast
Last time I was talking about how to teach losing skills.
In this episode of Bea Inclusive TV, I will focus on the question that I’ve received from Beth.
So today question is:
Can you use LBTH for building relationships between children who struggle to make friends or to try to learn to like each other?
Yes, Lego-based Therapy it’s a fantastic medium when we would like to build relationships between children who struggle with friendship! I will come back to that, and I will give you the reasons why you should use Lego-based Therapy, later in the video.
I thought that this is an exceptionally good question so thank you Beth and I hope I will help you.
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If you are new to me –Welcome! My name is Bea and this VLOG is dedicated to advocating truly inclusive school provision through well researched, safe and recommended approaches such as Lego-based Therapy.
So, here is me inviting you to follow my journey in creating truly inclusive provision that will help you to support children and develop your skills. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Making friends when we have social anxiety, learning difficulties or simply when we are shy is extremely hard even for adults.
Making friends is a very personal business and I want you to remember when helping or supporting children in this process to remember about that as I believe that forcing two children who do not like each other would be a mistake. However, we can help those children to respect one another and to teach them to enjoy the activity even when we are not happy with the social partner.
Remember that if children are aggressive (verbally, or physically) then the good practice is to not force them to work or play together as we don’t want to increase children anxiety, get somebody hurt, develop inappropriate behaviours. And your first and main role as the facilitator of social communication skills is to increase children self-esteem and you must agree with me that when you were hit or shouted this will not help you in self-worth.
It will do the opposite!
Building a friendship depends on many different social skills and it’s one of the more complex social skills so we shouldn’t focus on that before we dealt with basic social skills such as emotional skills, self-regulation skills, communication skills, following rules, sharing the space and resources, turn-taking in a game, etc.
Making friends is particularly difficult for children who are shy, anxious, have communication difficulties, got through trauma and struggle with trust concept, children with low self-esteem, children with EAL, SEND children, children who lack adequate impulse control or children who antagonise/ bossy others.
But the good news is that we can support those children and help them to make friends by creating safe and cooperative activities where we can teach them necessary skills and give them the opportunity to gain an understanding of friendship.
We all must follow simple rules if we want to make and keep friends and children are no exception. What are the rules?
Appropriate Eye contact.
Understand our own emotions and know how to regulate them.
Understand other’s people view, perspective, emotions and desires.
Listing skills to be able to listen actively and show sympathy, offer help when needed.
Know how to start, close conversation and how to introduce yourself to others,
We must share, turn-take, turn-take in a conversation, cooperate, compromise, respect other personal space and their choices even when we do not agree with them.
Being assertive, knowing how to apologise and forgive other’s mistakes, etc.
There is plenty more skills to master if we would like to help children in making friends and I want you to remember that they all play a crucial role in this complicated process.
You can help and support child friendship development by using Lego-based Therapy in your setting. I believe that this small playgroup works extremely well in teaching how to make friends as:
LBTH Creates a safe, warm, soothing trusty place to learn and practice new skills
It’s built around cooperation between children to work and achieve one common goal (so children don’t have to compete which reduce the anxiety and proves that children work better that way)
The structure and all the visual support decrease children anxiety and allow them to relax and try new things.
The first 12 weeks of LBTH focuses on rules, communication, language and basic social skills like rules, respect, sharing, turn-taking, waiting and on improving children self -esteem, self-regulation and self-evaluation skills, and problem-solve around those skills. These 12 first weeks are crucial and will allow you to give your children the necessary tools before you start teaching friendship skills. This time will also give you the opportunity to address children’s inappropriate or challenging behaviour, model, and practice new skills.
After children these 12 weeks and mastering basic social communication skills you will plan activities to cover more complex skills such as how to start and finish the conversation, how to introduce themselves and talk about their interest, quality of a good friend, compromising, assertiveness, apologising, teach about Theory of Mind and mind-reading focusing on more complex skills such as understanding other people perspective, how to be an active listener and show interest in others, how to talk and solve conflicts with your friends, how to negotiate with your friends, build on children, young people resilience, etc.