Friends are not only important so that the children have someone to play with, but they also contribute to a positive sense of mental wellbeing, encourage learning and develop interpersonal skills. From a very young age, our brains are wired to make an effort to connect with others, particularly with those who are similar in age or interests. Today, we’re discussing why friendships are so important at school.

Schools are designed to help pupils to find others to share their experience with, whether that’s at morning playtime, during a group task, or at an after school activity. Socialising with others should be a fun and enjoyable experience that helps a child to learn more about the wonderful world we live in, as well as ourselves!

Several studies have found links between strong friendships and school performance. This is largely related to the positive attitudes related to seeing friends in the school grounds, and children are more likely to want to go to school if they know that they will get to see some of their favourite people! Children act as role models for each other, particularly when ‘best friendships’ are formed. This can, however, work both ways; a child who is disruptive and unfocused, may then disrupt other children within the friendship group or even class. In this case, teachers and parents may need to step in.

Here are a few ways that you can help your child to grow positive and long-lasting friendships:

Social Opportunities

Providing your child with a plethora of social activities in different settings will certainly help them to learn more about different friendships. As mentioned, school is a great social opportunity, particularly at break times, but it is important also to encourage friendships elsewhere. For example, why not invite your child’s friend over for dinner one day? Or to an activity at the weekend? This will help the child to explore their social abilities in a range of situations and develop their skills.

Managing Negative Situations

Fallouts, bad words and feelings of upset will always happen during the younger years of a child’s life. Therefore, it is important to help your child to deal with their frustrations and emotions in an appropriate way. If your child returns home with a friendship problem, the first step is to sit down and talk about the issue to find the root cause. Then you may find it productive to brainstorm ways in which the situation could be resolved, or avoided in future.

Expressing Feelings

Learning how best to express your feelings is something that is difficult to master, even as an adult. Therefore, it’s essential to encourage your child to talk about their feelings with you, their parent, and possibly their friends too! Whether it’s feelings of anger and frustration or happiness and joy, letting your emotions out will help others to understand how you’re feeling, as well as stopping you from bottling everything up. This is important to adults and children alike. Be sure to discuss your own feelings with your child too, as this encourages them to share theirs.

Point of View

By the age of six or seven, a child will usually have developed the ability to understand that other people may have a different point of view, although this won’t always make sense to them. Again, talking with your child and helping them to understand this will be beneficial. If you’re reading a book, ask your child how they think different characters are feeling, and even how they would feel if they were in that situation. This process can be repeated if there’s an incident with a friend also. Encouraging our little one to think about other people’s feelings is an essential part of growing up.

Encourage Games/Sports

Whether you want to enrol your child in an extra-curricular activity or sport, or simply encourage these activities at home on the weekends and holidays, games and sports are a fantastic way to make friendships. This also often provides opportunities for children to be in new situations where they need to learn to control their feelings and emotions, as well as thinking about those of others. Here at our independent primary school, we encourage children to participate in a wide range of activities from sports, languages and music to creative art classes and many others too.

Imagination

Exploring feelings through the art of storytelling is a fantastic way to encourage learning and self-expression. This can be in the form of role-playing, story telling or drawing/painting, and is wonderful for those young ones who aren’t so open to talking about feelings. Imaginative play can help to develop relationships, as well as deal with complex issues in a positive manner.

Here at St Peter’s we think that school friendships are incredibly important, and work to help to build these bonds for healthy relationships throughout school life and beyond!

Here are a few other blogs that you may find of interest:

https://stpetersprep.co.uk/other-news/ways-teach-children-share/

https://stpetersprep.co.uk/other-news/importance-school-activities/

https://stpetersprep.co.uk/other-news/creative-activities-toddlers/

Published On: June 20th, 2018 / Categories: News /