Updated: May 29
Friendship Skills through Lego®-based Therapy. Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast Episode 018
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 this was an excellent question, so thank you, Beth and I hope I will help you.
Let me also say a huge thank you to all who subscribed to my channel. I appreciate that you are here. Thanks to you, I can post more videos like this. Please make sure you will hit the like button as this makes the video more visible on the YouTube channel, and more people will be able to learn for free.
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, I invite you to follow my journey in creating genuinely inclusive provisions to help you 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 that I believe 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 their social partner.
Remember that if children are aggressive (verbally or physically), then the good practice is not to force them to work or play together as we don't want to increase children's anxiety, get somebody hurt, or develop inappropriate behaviours. And your first and primary role as the facilitator of social communication skills is to raise children's self-esteem, and you must agree with me that when you are hit or shouted at, 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 deal 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, get through trauma and struggle with trust concepts, children with low self-esteem, children with EAL, SEND children, and children who lack adequate impulse control or antagonise/ bossy others.
But the good news is that we can support those children and help them make friends by creating safe and cooperative activities to teach them the necessary skills and allow them to understand friendship.
We must follow simple rules to make and keep friends; 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 listen actively, show sympathy, and offer help when needed.
Know how to start, close conversation and how to introduce yourself to others,
We must share, turn-take, and turn-take in a conversation, cooperate, compromise, and respect others' personal space and choices, even when we disagree.
Being assertive, apologising and forgiving others' mistakes, etc.
There are plenty more skills to master if we would like to help children make 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 exceptionally 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 reduces anxiety and proves that children function better that way)
The structure and all the visual support decrease children's anxiety and allow them to relax and try new things.
The first eight weeks of LBTH focus on rules, communication, language and basic social skills like rules, respect, sharing, turn-taking, waiting and improving children's self-esteem, self-regulation and self-evaluation skills, and problem-solving around those skills. These eight 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 allow you to address children's inappropriate or challenging behaviour, model, and practice new skills.
After children have these eight weeks and mastering basic social communication skills, you will plan activities to cover more complex skills such as how to start and finish a conversation, how to introduce themselves and talk about their interests, the 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.
Of course, there are many more skills around friendship, which is not a complete list, and all of them could be taught through a well-trained LBTH Facilitator. Remember to be able to teach this skill. You must know what they are and how to teach them. But this will be the topic for another video.
There you have it!
I hope you enjoyed my video today, and I look forward to hearing from you. Please comment below the video and consider subscribing to my channel, as this will help me to create more videos like this one, and more people will be able to learn for FREE. Please do not forget to hit the like button.
After you've finished, please join the discussion below. Tell me if you would like to learn more about that or what other social skills interventions you use and why.
Until the next time
Love and xxx