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Ways to Help Your Kids Make Friends

It’s much easier—and far more fun—to start a new school year with friends. Having friends at school makes school life far more enjoyable and leave them lots of fond memories. To that end, here are some ways for parents to help their kids reconnect with old friends—and make some new ones.

Start at home.

“Making and keeping friends involves skills that are best learned at home with your family,” writes Dr. Clair McCarthy in Harvard Health. “Make sure that everyone in the family treats each other fairly and with kindness.”

Keep it going in the community.

When you’re not at home, be friendly!

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“Strike up conversations, ask questions of people around you,” advises McCarthy. “Help your child learn confidence and strategies for talking to people they don’t know.”

Make interactions with friends easier.

One great way to get kids talking and interacting with each other—and, in turn, making friends—is through sharing a common interest or activity.

To help:

• Sign kids up for a sport or another activity that involves their peers, one they have at least some interest in doing.

• Get together with the parents of some of your kids’ peers. Meet at the park or plan a picnic or invite them over for coffee. Doing something together with the parents lets kids get to know each other while taking some of the pressure off.

• When planning playdates, think about fun, cooperative activities, like baking cookies or building a fort. A “one-for-all-and-all-for-one” activity sets kids up to help each other achieve their goal and interact cooperatively.

Keep an eye on kids, but don’t hover.

“Ultimately your child needs to learn to make friends on their own,” says McCarthy. “And you don’t want to embarrass them either!”

All the best with back to school!

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