Your child can be lonely for several reasons. They might be the only child. Their siblings or friends may not be around to play with them. They may not be getting enough time with their parents. They may be introverts. They may have gone through a life-changing event such as changing a home/school, moving to a new city, or loss of a loved one.
Whatever the reason may be, they may exhibit different behaviour when loneliness begins to bother them excessively. They will withdraw socially, cry excessively, be angry or clingy, or even create imaginary friends. They may also develop low self-esteem. When you notice this behaviour, you must take the necessary steps to pull them out of the clutches of loneliness.
Here are some ways you can help them.
- Talk to Them
Sit with your child and engage in a gentle conversation to find out the reason for their loneliness. This may give you a clue to make them feel better. For example, if they are missing their friends, you can arrange a play date or video call. If you have shifted to a new home, you can invite children of their age group for a fun party to make new friends.
- Enrol Them in an Activity Class
If your child is a social recluse due to which they feel lonely, you can enrol them in a dance, drama, sports, or any other group activity class. This will help to overcome their shyness and open up to new people. It wouldn’t be long before they start looking forward to these classes!
- Take Them to Visit Relatives
If your extended family lives in the same city, you can make a weekly or monthly routine to take your child to visit them or invite them over to your home. Your child will not only be able to shed loneliness but also build a close bond with the family.
- Spend Time with Them
Your child may feel lonely purely because they are unable to spend quality time with you. They may feel ignored or unloved. Try to keep some time of the day exclusively for your child. It could be morning hours, dinner time, or bedtime. During weekends, do some family activities together like watching a movie, going on an outdoor trip, etc.
- Meet the Teacher
If your child’s loneliness stems from a lack of friends, bullying or any other reason in the school, it would be a good idea to talk to their teacher. The teacher may handle the situation at her end the way she deems fit. You can also request the teacher to encourage your child’s participation in the class and school activities.
If your child still feels lonely and begins to show worrisome behaviour due to it despite all the measures mentioned above, you may want to consult a therapist. Alternatively, you can give them a few more months to outgrow their loneliness and then visit a therapist.