How can I help my child make friends?

Friendships are a really important part of children’s lives. They’re crucial for mental, physical and emotional health. 

It’s normal for children to feel nervous or have anxious feelings about making new friends. You can help by talking to them about friendships and organising activities where they can meet other children.

Talking to your child about friendships

  • Listen to their worries in an understanding and non-judgemental way. 
  • Don’t dismiss their concerns. Instead, try to validate their emotions. 
  • Ask questions about their day without emphasising certain parts. For example, instead of “did you make any new friends, today?”, you could ask “who was in your team during P.E.?” 
  • Stay positive. As your child adjusts to school, their confidence will grow and their natural ability to make friends. 

    Helping your child to socialise

    While they are young, your child will need your help to spend time with other children outside of school or nursery. There are lots of ways you can support them to make friends.

    • Contact any friends they have made at school and arrange weekend activities such as meeting up at the park. 
    • Try to spend quality time playing with your child – you can help meet their need for social interaction. 
    • Organise a pen-pal for your child. This can improve their reading and writing skills, too! 
    • Spend time outdoors in a park where your child can observe other children playing. Once they feel more confident, they might even try out their friend-making skills.
    • Talk to them about what hobbies they’d like to spend time doing, or sports they like playing. Look for clubs and activities they could join in your area.
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      This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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