Your kids friends are special. They are comrades-in-arms, partners in crime, fellow explorers, and creators. They can be their personal fan club, comforters, and provide sensible reality checks.
When Childhood Friends grow Apart
Many kids retain their relationships with childhood friends for many years, and some friendships even last into adulthood. However, the onset of adolescence can strain some friendships, completely breaking others.
Getting Together with Friends
Once your kids read a certain age, they no longer have playdates. Instead, they hang out and get together with each other. Encourage these hangouts, give them a safe place to hang out in your home. Let your child plan all the details for the get-together.
If your child's best friend is now too far away to get together with, there are many ways you can help them stay in touch. Writing letters is making a comeback. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and other similar resources allow your children to see and talk to their friends even when they are miles away.
Join a Sport or Club to Make New Friends
Encourage your children to pursue their interests or discover new ones by joining local clubs or trying out sports. Children who share a common interest tend to gravitate towards each other.
Provide Opportunities to Meet New People
Get creative. Provide opportunities for your children to meet new children. Go to the library or the local ice cream parlor. Take an art class together, go to a concert or play in the park.
Practice Making Friends
Encourage your child to practice making friends. Let them see you making friendly conversation with strangers you meet in social situations. If they see you successfully engaging strangers, it might help them overcome any fear they may be experiencing themselves.
Befriend Different Age Groups
Encourage your children to make friends with other children in different age groups. Older children may take your child under their wing, or encourage your child to do the same with a younger child. Doing so will open their social world up to new possibilities.
Whatever you do, make sure you are there for your child, offering encouragement, understanding, and support as they go through these changes in their lives. Be sure to listen to what they have to say before jumping in and trying to fix everything for them. Some times they just a sturdy shoulder to cry on and the assurance that they are loved.