Helping Your Child Make Friends

Thanks to Primrose Schools for this great article from their Pointers for Parents newsletter!

Making Friends

August is here and that can only mean one thing — it’s time to go back to school! A new school year brings lots of new things for children — schedules, teachers and maybe even a new backpack! With so much excitement, it’s important to remember that some children may need a bit of encouragement when it comes to one very important back-to-school component—making new friends.

By age 3, children are very aware of those around them. The friends they make at school will help them develop social skills such as sharing and taking turns. Friendships can also lead to a whole new appreciation and respect for differences. Once those first-day jitters are gone, your child is likely to begin observing others and recognizing classmates with shared interests. Here are a few tips to help your child feel more confident about saying, “Hi!” to new friends:

Set expectations.
As a parent, you are in a position to teach your child to treat others with kindness. The Golden Rule is a perfect way to introduce this idea to your child. Encourage her to show appreciation when a friend is kind or helpful. Also remind your child that hurting another child’s feelings is not something good friends do.

Teach him how to be a good friend.
Help your child understand that you need to be a good friend to have good friends. Your child must understand how his behavior can impact someone else, so it is a lesson you want to start teaching early and practice often. Point out when your child is demonstrating “good friend” behaviors, such as sharing. As your child repeatedly hears what attributes make a good friend, he’ll internalize the concept.

Turn to books.
There are plenty of children’s books with wonderful lessons in friendship. As you read the book with your child, talk about each character’s “good friend” traits and specific things the characters said or did that made them good friends.

  • Will I have a Friend? by Miriam Cole
  • Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Eric Carle
  • Owen & Mzee: Best Friends by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu

For more books and tips on friendship and helping your child make friends, visit Dr. Z and Friends.

Article reposted from Primrose School Pointers for Parents newsletter.


Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.

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