Friendship is an important aspect of life. Our lives are enriched when we are in quality friendships. School friendships play such a critical role in how your child develops emotionally and socially. It affects how much they will enjoy their days at school, which is crucial seeing that they see their school friends 5 out of 7 days in a week.
Quality, healthy friendships help boost a child’s self-esteem, self-confidence and gives them a sense of belonging. Studies have shown that kids who are in great friendships also perform better at school. They have better attitudes about going to school and learning when they are surrounded by great friends there.
How To Solve Friendship Issues At School And Encourage Positive Friendships
If only it was that easy! So how do you encourage your child to make quality friendships at school? It sometimes can be tricky for children to make friends, maintain their friendships, or navigate any friendship issues that may arise. Children need to learn friendship skills. These skills teach kids to develop, appreciate and nurture their friendships, and include, but not limited to:
- learning to cooperate
- taking turns and being fair
- listening to one other
- showing empathy and being sympathetic to each other’s feelings
- managing conflict
Take a look at our top 6 tips below to help your children make long lasting quality friendships:
1. Ask your child what makes a good friend
Helping your child identify the qualities of what a good friend should have will help them to recognize what types of friendships they should be searching for. Healthy friendships exhibit many great qualities such as trust, respect, kindness, honesty and consideration towards each other. Helping your child understand these qualities allows them to understand what a true friend should be like, and will assist them in “filtering out” people who do not exhibit these qualities. Discussing with your children these qualities also enables them to learn what they mean and will help them to reciprocate these qualities themselves.
2. Kids need to know that friends aren’t “one size fits all”
We all have different personalities and interests. Explain to your child that not all friendships are the same. Your child may be interested in playing tag with one friend, while another friend may be interested in sitting and chatting. It is important for your child to understand that everyone is different. A friend that isn’t interested in one particular activity does not mean that they are not worthy of their friendship. Being accepting of different friends’ interests and being open to trying new activities will help your child expand their circle of friends and develop friendships with different kinds of people.
3. Explain that friendships can change
As children grow and mature, interests and values can change. Your child may find that their friendship with their best friend starts to grow distant and they no longer share the same interests as they move through the school years. Let your child know that this is very common and normal. People may change as they grow older and it is normal for them to want to seek out new friends who share their new interests. It is also an opportunity for your child to meet new friends who are now a better fit for them too.
4. Participate in extra-curricular activities and organize opportunities to socialize
Give your child the opportunity to broaden their social circle with outside school activities and have a chance to meet other like-minded children. Children with similar interests connect more easily. It also allows children who may not have formed quality friendships at school to meet friends outside of school.
Similarly, parents can organize opportunities for school friends to socialize after school or on weekends (playdates). Even a 30-minute play at the school playground after school allows children to mingle and enhance their friendship. Playtime during school hours is limited, and with so many children around, it is not always easy to find their friends, let alone spend a decent amount of quality time with them.
5. Observe how your child socializes
It is a good idea to sit back and watch how your child interacts and behaves with their friends. Are they in fact quite bossy and controlling, or perhaps submissive and overly sensitive? Bossy, controlling children may be turning friendships away while submissive, overly sensitive children may find their friends too overbearing. They may not have the courage to speak up and will feel deflated that their friendship does not feel equal.
You can help your children practice the right behaviours at home. Role playing can be quite effective to help them learn different ways to interact with their friends across different scenarios. Your child may not notice their own behaviour around friends and gently letting them know at home often enlightens them and helps them to try new methods of conducting themselves around their friends.
6. Friendship Issues At Primary School: Understand that conflict is normal but help them navigate difficult friendships
All friendships have disagreements at times, even the best of friends. It is your chance as a parent to talk with your children and help them gently navigate sensitive and hurt feelings. Discuss the issue and brainstorm some solutions together with your child. Talking it through helps your child to understand the problem from a different point of view. It may help them realize that the problem could be resolved easily or was not as big of an issue as once thought.
Overall, making friends is a skill. Children may have the basic skills to make friends but often they need some help in fine-tuning these skills. An adult can step in to help equip them with the right tools so that they can find the right friendships for them. Regular open conversations about your child’s friendships will help make it easier to navigate the path of making lifelong quality friendships.
Q: Friendship Programs Primary School: Can They Help?
A: Can Friendship Programs in Primary Schools Truly Make a Difference?
Friendship programs have been gaining popularity in primary schools as a means to encourage social development among students. But the question that arises is whether these programs can truly have a positive impact on young minds. The answer lies in understanding the potential benefits they bring to the table.
One of the key advantages of implementing friendship programs in primary schools is that they offer a supportive environment for students to nurture their social skills. By facilitating interactions and encouraging teamwork, these programs aim to enhance the social and emotional well-being of students. Through engaging activities and structured platforms, children can learn valuable lessons in empathy, communication, and conflict resolution – skills that are vital for healthy relationships throughout their lives.
Additionally, friendship programs also serve as a tool to address social inclusion and reduce bullying in schools. By fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding, these programs ensure that all students feel valued and respected irrespective of their differences. This creates an environment where bullying is less likely to occur, and children learn the importance of respecting diversity from an early age.
Furthermore, friendship programs in primary schools have the potential to positively impact academic achievement. When students feel socially connected and supported, they are more likely to have higher levels of motivation and engagement, leading to improved learning outcomes. By strengthening their social connections, children develop a sense of belonging, which promotes a positive attitude towards school and a willingness to participate actively in the learning process.
It is essential to recognize that friendship programs should not solely be seen as a solution to all social challenges in primary schools. Other factors, such as parental involvement and effective school policies, also play crucial roles in shaping a nurturing environment. Nevertheless, friendship programs can certainly complement these efforts and provide a structured framework for promoting positive social interactions among students.
In conclusion, friendship programs in primary schools can indeed make a difference in the lives of young students. By fostering social skills, addressing social inclusion, and enhancing academic achievement, these programs contribute to the overall well-being of children. It is through investing in such initiatives that we can create a supportive and inclusive environment that nurtures strong friendships and prepares students for a bright future.
Q: What are some common friendship problems with child friendship?
A: Building childhood friendships can be both rewarding and challenging. Let’s explore common friendship problems children face and how to address them.
Conflict resolution is a key challenge. Children encounter disagreements as they learn to express themselves. Teaching active listening and compromise can strengthen friendships.
Jealousy can also pose a problem. Children might feel envious when friends achieve success or possess desired things. Encouraging gratitude and empathy helps manage these feelings.
Bullying within friendships is another issue. Recognizing signs and empowering children to stand up to bullying is crucial. Promoting kindness and respect is vital.
Changing interests or development stages can lead to friendship drift. Embracing diverse interests and fostering open dialogue helps maintain connections.
Balancing friendships with commitments can be challenging. Teaching children communication, time management, and the value of quality over quantity supports healthy friendships.
Q: How can parents help their child to make friends at school?
A: Parents can help their child make friends by being supportive, encouraging social interactions, and fostering their child’s social skills. Parents can arrange play-dates, accompany their child to extracurricular activities, or simply be there for their child to talk about any social situations or issues that arise. It’s crucial to remember that every child is different and may require different levels of support.
Q: Why are school friends important for primary school kids?
A: School friends provide a sense of belonging, aid in the development of social skills, and can make the school years more enjoyable. Friendships at school create an inclusive school community, supporting school-age friendships can greatly benefit both the academic and emotional growth of every child.
Q: How do teachers help with friendships in primary school?
A: Teachers can help identify social situations that might be challenging for a child and provide guidance. The school community including teachers and other school-age children can help nurture good friendships, teach children about respect and acceptance, and ensure that the child feels included.
Q: How can being part of a group of friends help a child on their first day of school?
A: Having a group of friends can help a child feel more secure and confident when they start school. Being part of a group where the child feels a sense of belonging and acceptance can ease the transition to a new environment and help with a child’s self-esteem.
Q: What role can parents and carers play in helping maintain friendships at school?
A: Parents and carers can play a significant role in helping children maintain friendships. They can facilitate social opportunities, provide advice and guidance about social situations. Most importantly, they can model good friendships and teach them the importance of a friendship that respects the autonomy of all involved.
Q: How can extracurricular activities help a child make friends?
A: Extracurricular activities provide children an opportunity to interact with others who share the same interests. These encounters can easily evolve into friendships. Participating in these activities also enhances a child’s social skills, making it easier for them to make and maintain friendships.
Q: What should parents do when their child has trouble making and keeping friends?
A: If a child has trouble making and keeping friends, parents should initially talk to their child to understand the possible issues they might be experiencing. Parents can then provide support and guidance and encourage them to engage in social activities that they enjoy. If problems persist, it might be helpful to seek assistance from teachers, school counsellors, or psychologists.
Q: How can childhood friendships positively impact everyday life?
A: Childhood friendships can help develop essential life skills. They can contribute to a child’s emotional well-being and teach them about relationship dynamics, empathy, sharing, and support. Good friendships can also boost confidence, thereby positively impacting everyday life.
Q: How can friendships at school contribute to a child’s academic performance?
A: Friendships at school can contribute to a child’s academic performance by providing emotional support, creating a positive learning environment and encouraging the child to perform better. Friends can motivate, contribute to a sense of belonging in the school community and help create a positive attitude towards school and learning.
Q: How can parents and teachers help a child with additional needs make friends?
A: Parents and teachers can help a child with additional needs by understanding their social needs, providing extra support, talking to the school about any concerns and guiding the child in social interactions. The school community should provide an inclusive environment to ensure each child feels a sense of belonging.
In conclusion, common childhood friendship problems provide opportunities for growth and lasting connections in friendship groups. By equipping children with effective communication skills, resilience, and empathy, they can navigate these challenges successfully.
* School photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com