How to help kids make friends

Help kids make friends - four children playing in the grass

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We all want our children to have a healthy social life, even if it means having to sit through multiple kids’ parties every weekend. But it isn’t always straightforward for children. Yes, sometimes it is as simple as one infant approaching another and shouting “FRIENDS!” to foster a life-long companionship. However, in other cases, your child might not feel confident approaching others and getting involved. This is why we have created a list of tips on how to help kids make friends.

Friendship is a vital part of a child’s development, fostering social skills, emotional wellbeing, and a sense of belonging. As parents, we can play a significant role in helping our kids cultivate friendships. Try these methods if you are concerned about your child’s social circle and hopefully it will help them find a group of pals with whom they can hang out.


Help kids make friends. Girl consoles her crying friend


Essential Skills for Making Friends

Friendship skills are like any other skills that can be learned and developed. This is the first step if you want to help kids make friends. These skills include:

  • Communication: Teaching your child effective communication skills, such as active listening and expressing themselves clearly, will help them initiate and maintain conversations with others.
  • Cooperation: Encourage your child to work collaboratively with others, practice sharing and taking turns. These skills foster positive interactions and create a sense of teamwork.
  • Problem-solving: Try out problem-solving tasks with your child as this will help them overcome disagreements in their friendships. Play with puzzles and other toys that require lateral thinking. These skills will enable them to navigate conflicts and maintain healthy relationships.

How to help kids make friends – tips

Model Friendly Behaviour

Children learn by observing their parents and caregivers, as anyone who has sworn at another driver will be able to tell you. There’s no worse hear-in-mouth moment than hearing the curse being repeated back in an angelic child voice.

Model the behaviour you would like to see in your child’s interactions. Demonstrate kindness, empathy, and respect towards others when you are out and about. Strike up conversations with others and show your child the steps you take to break the ice. Your child will naturally pick up on these qualities and incorporate them into their own social interactions. Obviously, this means

Find Shared Interests

If your child likes certain activities, take them to groups and events where there will be like-minded kids for them to play with. Encourage your child to explore different hobbies that they might like, based on what they enjoy at home. By doing what they love, they are more likely to meet other children with similar interests, making it easier to establish common ground for friendship.

In addition, you might also get to meet new friends and, if not, you could still get the opportunity to sit back with a coffee whilst your child is engaged.

Help kids make friends - four children playing in the grass


Nurture Their Empathy

Empathy is a vital skill for building meaningful connections. Teach your child to understand and share the feelings of others. Encourage them to consider different perspectives and be sensitive to the emotions of their peers. This will help them forge deeper connections and respond compassionately in social situations.


Help Them with Conversational Skills

Initiating and maintaining conversations can be challenging for children (as well as some adults). Practice conversational skills with your child by engaging in role-play scenarios. Teach them how to greet others, ask open-ended questions, and show genuine interest in what others have to say. These skills will boost their confidence and make social interactions more enjoyable.


Monitor Their Interactions

You probably don’t want to continually look over your child’s shoulder as there is very little more likely to prevent them making friends. However, do keep an eye on how they are doing.

Observe your child’s social interactions and provide guidance when necessary. Offer gentle feedback and help them understand appropriate behaviour in different social settings. It also allows you to address any potential issues or conflicts promptly.

But, to help kids make friends, make sure you do this from afar if possible to let them get on with it.


How do you help kids make friends? Share your tips with us in the Comments

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