5 Fun Ways Kids Can Build Friendships
Remember when you were a kid? You may have been the type that loved making friends, or perhaps you were more shy. You may have been the type that was more interested in colouring books and lego sets and needed a bit of time opening up to other kids. Our childhood memories give us some of the best feelings. Part of the innocence of childhood fun was building friendships. Some of our best adventures consisted of finding new and mischievous activities to do with our crew.
As the world becomes more connected through social media, it is still vital to nurture a physical connection. friendship still plays an important part in a child’s social development. In addition to helping kids understand the value of friendship, it’s also necessary to show them ways they can build friendships.
After months of COVID stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, some children may experience anxiety associated with interacting with large groups of people. Kids may have gotten accustomed to spending more time alone or around immediate family. KidNation wants to combat these issues and encourage children to continue to seek and build friendships.
Here are five fun ways to get kids back to connecting and building friendships:
- Teaching Kids the Value of Sharing
Whether it’s sharing toys or allowing friends to take turns in a conversation, it’s important to help kids understand the value in sharing. Teaching kids having fun with someone else through sharing is far more interesting than being alone is one step parents can take. Kids learn by example and we must constantly practice the act of sharing and caring through modeling.
By showing them how to take genuine interest in others through caring and sharing, we reinforce the knowledge that there’s no I in Team. These actions show how important this skill is and how even as adults sharing is crucial in friendship building,
- Imaginary Play
Set up a make-believe scenario with your child’s favorite toy. The toy will serve as the imaginary “new” friend. Encourage your child to introduce him or herself to the toy and find out the toy’s name, favorite foods and colors, and games. Pretend play helps your child learn and what a real-life friendship is. Imaginary play also builds confidence and independence.
- Extracurricular Social Activities
Get your child involved in extracurricular activities. Enroll them in sports, hobby groups or after-school activities. Sometimes, all day learning can be confining. Extracurricular activities allow children to find friends who share similar interests. These activities can be a catalyst for building new friendships and sparking a conversation.
Try reaching out to parents of other kids who share common interests as your child. Plan a play date, game night or fun sleepover.
- Tap into creative learning
Puzzles, coloring activities, and even music can teach friendship building skills. Kids often learn faster by modeling actions they hear and see. Our super-catchy KidNation song, “Good Friends”, teaches kids the importance of ‘homies that keep it real’. Because, isn’t that what life is about? Good friends that you can act silly around and that have your back are crucial for happiness.
You can also download our free KidNation friendship skills printable worksheet here. Enjoy some quality time with your child and learn what they value in friendships.
- The Compliment Game
The Compliment Game is a game you can play to boost your child’s social skills. You and your child take turns giving each other compliments. You can commend them on “a job well done” or remind them of how kind they acted towards their friends. Everyone loves a compliment and even the simplest one can leave a warm fuzzy feeling for both the giver and receiver. Acknowledging the good actions of others and showing appreciation can help start meaningful conversations.
Parents directly influence the social development of your child. Encourage your child to speak with a classmate they may not know or compliment them. Meaningful friendships keep life vibrant and fulfill our innate ability to connect as social creatures.