School-Age Friendships: How To Support Them

Hebert H. Humphry once stated that, “The greatest gift of life is friendship”.

I would like to share with you some tips written in an article from Raisingchildren.net.au called “School-age friendships: how to support them”.  Specifically, I would like to focus on how to support children experiencing friendship difficulties (making or keeping friends) in school.

According to the article, some signs which may indicate that children are experiencing friendship difficulties in school are: if they are upset/anxious to go to school, not eating their lunch, or suddenly shifting from being very social to spending time by themselves. If you do notice these signs, the articles states that parents may like to do the following:

  1. Communicate with your child’s teachers. This would also be a great way to identify if they are having friendship difficulties both in the class or in the playground.
  2. Have regular open discussion with your children about friendship. This will give them an opportunity to tell you if they are experiencing friendship issues. During these discussions it may be helpful:
  • To share any friendship issues you may have experienced as a child and how you overcame them.
  • Also, reading books which focus on friendships and how to navigate friendship issues is helpful when discussing friendship issues. According Psychologist Kathryn Hoffses states that, reading books or watching movies which highlight outsiders triumphing after being rejected or experiencing other friendship issues would help children build the skills to cope with the difficult social situations happening in their friendship groups. I would recommend reading “Sorry” by Norbert Landa and Tim Warnes. Also, “King of the Playground” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  However, if you do not have access to both of these books, I am able to bring them to the Lunchtime board games on Tuesdays, and I would be more than happy to read them to the children who come along.
  1. Help children to foster friendships with children outside of their school. It can be a great idea to get children to develop friends with other children who may not attend the same school as them, as it helps them to build confidence in different social events. It is encouraged that parents help children to foster relationships with: other children from their extra-curricular activities (Sports, dance or tutoring), with children in your neighbourhood and family friends.

I definitely recommend visiting, Raisingchildren.net.au for more information about how to support the friendships children develop in during school.

Kind regards,

Rumbi