How to make friends-How to make friends-Nord Anglia Education
WRITTEN BY
Nord Anglia
26 February, 2024

How to make friends

How to make friends-How to make friends-BCB_Brazil_March_2023-579

For many children, navigating the wild and wonderful world of making friends can be a bit like exploring a new playground: it's a mixture of excitement, trying new things spontaneously, and a whole lot of learning on the go — but there can be the occasional scraped knee along the way where things don’t quite go as planned.

Have you ever seen your child struggling to make friends in school and wanted to help? That’s why we spoke to Amy Bonehill, Director of Whole School Counselling and Wellbeing at St Andrews International School Bangkok along with Matt Gregory, Deputy Head of Campus - Community and Wellbeing at the British International School of Chicago Lincoln Park, to really understand the best ways we can help children master the art of friendship.

 

Get them to buddy up!

Many schools use a buddy system because linking children who have similar interests — whether that’s painting, coding, or a dedication to dodgeball — can jumpstart beautiful friendships. It’s also a great way to help them understand the power of empathy and inclusion.

We know that great friends can also come from unexpected places. Maybe your child prefers to be a Pokémon master one year and then a soccer star the next, so try to get them to mingle with others so they can figure out how their interests gel with others. This is a great way to nudge them out of their comfort zones, sparking growth and maybe even a few unexpected friendships. Perhaps their best friend is not in their immediate class circle.

 

Say “yes!” to school socials

Making friends is often hardest when a student is new, particularly for those globe-trotting families who come from a different culture and speak a different language. Have your child join schools events—or find events you can attend as a family—whether its playground meetups, bake sales, book fairs, or having them join after-school extracurriculars. Think of it as laying down the social soil where friendships can sprout and grow. But remember: just like gardening, green shoots take time.

 

Online pals: the digital dilemma

In the era of digitalisation, the rules of the playground extend into cyberspace. It’s inevitable that children will make friends online, so be sure to open up the conversation about how they can do this safely and in trusted digital spaces. It's about guiding them, not guarding them 24/7. Sometimes it can be best to watch from the sidelines, but you should keep an eye on their social escapades and be there when they need you. Kids are naturally resilient explorers of the social jungle. Encourage their adventures in friendship without micromanaging their every move.

 

Quality over quantity

When it comes to friendships, it's the meaningful connections that matter most, not your overall friend count. Help children learn to treasure those few precious pals who truly get them. And remind them that being a bit shy or introverted doesn't mean they're flying solo. Let them know it's perfectly okay to have a smaller circle of friends; what matters most is the quality of these connections, not the quantity.

 

Making friends can be thrilling, unpredictable, and filled with learning curves, both for your child and for you as you help guide them through the big playground of life. Want to know more about our approach to helping kids love coming to school? Click here!