How to help your kids make friends

Our kids starting school and making friends is one of those life stages that puts a lump in our throat and fear in our hearts.

What if they don’t manage to make any friends? Or the right friends?!

These 5 practical tips can help us to help them, without us marching to school to make their friends for them.

1. Emotions: It makes sense that a child is going to find it easier to make friends if they can recognise when another child is feeling happy, sad, or really quite furious. Turn this into a game by drawing heads for your child to add faces and expressions to. Extend the game by making up reasons for why each person feels that way.

2. Confidence: Friendships are all about communication… having the confidence to share stories and ideas for games. Play a storytelling game that gives your child the space to talk and imagine. There are lots of games to try here and – bonus – you can do them lying down!

3. Listening: When kids play games together, they need to be able to listen to another child’s ideas as well as shouting up their own (although that’s important too!). Play a game like Simon Says, so your child can practice listening and concentrating hard on what you’re saying.

4. Teamwork: One of the first things a teacher will ask children to do is work collaboratively. Give your child a head start by setting them a challenge to do with another child (eg, a sibling, a neighbour, or you!) We love this Feed the Wozzle game, which encourages exactly that.

5. Don’t worry! This last activity is for you… Fill a bathtub with bubbles, a glass with wine, pick up your favourite bar of chocolate and climb in. Then trust that you’re doing a great job and your son or daughter is doing just fine.

How do you feel about your child’s first term at school? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter – we’re @5minutefun.