There have been numerous researches done on the topic of friendships amongst kids and why it’s crucial for their development. The obvious one is that friendships help with developing children’s social and emotional skills, but what are other benefits of friendships among kids?
Friendships provide the platform for learning how to be sensitive to other people’s needs, how to participate in conversations and follow age-appropriate behaviour. When children surround themselves with friends, they acquire a support network to help deal with stressful situations. Having strong connections with others can help one feel supported during hardships that all of us face.
Having friends can also affect a child’s school performance. Of course, a child may be influenced in both good and bad ways having certain friends, but that’s where parents’ guidance and attention comes in.
Children need emotional and social support growing up, which friendships with their peers provide. As human beings, we want to be close to others and receive their support, so you can understand why friendships are important.
As it’s already mentioned above, when children have strong friendships at school, it is suggested that they learn better. Some teachers and schools encourage children with long term friends to stay in the same class year after year.
It is important to mention that, of course, every child is different and succeed socially in various ways, so there is not one friendship formula that applies to everyone. However, the fact is that cultivating meaningful and deep connections with others is essential, and there are ways for parents to help their child to do it. It is vital to recognise and teach a child that quality friendships are way more beneficial for them rather than quantity ones.
If you’d like to help your child develop meaningful friendships, read the tips we put together below:
Be a great role model yourself
Having meaningful friendships and showing your kids how much you appreciate friends is the best way of teaching them the art of friendship and deep connections. It can be often overlooked, but talking to your child and explaining why you enjoy having certain people in your life shows them what they need to look for in friends.
Friendships can be hard work, especially when you don’t see a friend regularly due to them living in another city or even a county. Your commitment to staying connected with someone important to you can show your child the real value of friendships.
Communication and Support
It’s certainly never easy for children when they learn how to understand and deal with their feelings and emotions. Friendships can be rewarding but also challenging. Talk to your child regularly and ask them about their friends. Ask them questions like “what did you feel when your friend didn’t want to play that game?” or “what could you do differently when you saw your friend being upset?”. Your support and advice can help them understand the tricky game of friendships.
As a parent, you will see when your child flourishes with certain friends, so you supporting that connection can help your child maintain that friendship and develop it further.
Consider your child’s personality
While some kids love having many friends around them, others will only ever need one best friend. That’s simply because every child is different and they will allow into their life what makes them happy, so there is no need to try and push something onto them that might not suit them. Respect and consider their personality when it comes to friendships. You should never compare them to their sibling who might be shyer or opposite - outgoing.