Making friends at school isn’t easy for some kids. If your child struggles to make friends in the classroom or on the playground, check out these suggestions and solutions from parents whose children have been there.
What do you do when your child can’t make friends at school? How can you help your child? We often think that being a child is easy and that adulthood is where things get stressful. In reality, childhood is a minefield of challenges, expectations, learning, and social skill development that can be confusing and can leave a child with a mix of feelings.
Check out our Homemade Worry Stones. They’re like a little hug a child can keep in his or her pocket for when they’re feeling down.
One of the hardest things about watching our children experience those ups and downs is when they have trouble making friends with other kids their age. As a mother with older children, I’ve seen some of my children’s classmates experience this challenge, and I can see how hard it can be (on the child and on the parents).
Because I often get this question from my blog and Facebook followers, I put the question out to the parents in my HH Facebook community. As always, they were quick to share what worked for their kids.
If your child can’t make friends at school, here are some things to try to help to make things easier.
What to Do When Your Child Can’t Make Friends at School
Talk with the Teacher
Teachers are the ones who get to see your child in action around other kids. They’ll be able to tell you whether your child’s trouble making friends is due to her behavior or her choices.
One parent in our Facebook community recalled how her daughter struggled with making friends, so she asked the teacher about her daughter’s behavior in the classroom. It wasn’t that her daughter was misbehaving or was mean to the others, she was just choosing to do other activities that weren’t as popular while the majority of the class gravitated toward a few select centers.
Once this mom and her daughter talked about how she could either do the activities alone or switch her choice to try one that the others found more interesting, she was able to befriend others in the classroom.
If, however, your child’s behavior is leading to trouble making friends, the teacher will be able to tell you that as well.
We put kids in a lot of different situations and often expect them to know how to behave appropriately. Understand that there are transition periods where kids are learning how to interact with others.
Don’t be afraid to address those behaviors head on and role-play some scenarios with your child to demonstrate how a friend might behave. It could be as simple as modeling how to share that will make all the difference in your child’s ability to make friends.
One fellow follower on our Facebook page suggested that the parents get involved and volunteer in their child’s classroom: “…It’s a great way to observe, first-hand, what’s really going on. When parents of kids who are having trouble making friends become involved at school, as guest readers or playground helpers, their kids develop more self-confidence. They become more comfortable in the classroom. As that self-confidence grows, so too does the child’s ability to make friends.“
Read Books About Friendship
There are many different types of friends and your child may have a misconception about what a friend actually looks like. Read as many stories as you can about friendship and making friends. (affiliate link) Not only is it a great chance for your child to see that not all friends are the same, it also gives you a great chance to sit with him and discuss the things that are on his mind.
Your reading time may wind up being listening time instead!
Join Clubs And Activities Outside Of School
Many parents in our Facebook community said that joining an outside club, such as band or judo or baseball really helped. Their child’s confidence increased, and they met kids who shared a common interest. Friendships blossomed, and naturally those kids became tight at school as well.
Arrange a Play Date
Children who have trouble making friends in a classroom setting may be more comfortable bonding with a classmate one-on-one at home. Arrange a get-together with another parent and child at a park or at one of your homes so the kids can play and get together in a more casual setting.
Most importantly, listen to your child. Sometimes our kids, like us, don’t want or expect us to jump in and solve their problems. They often just want someone to hear them, to validate their feelings and to guide them.
You can see all of the parents’ responses to the question “What Do You Do When Your Child Can’t Make Friends At School?” here on my Facebook page.
When your child is having a hard time making friends, it can be hard for you, the parent. We feel our children’s feelings and we just want them to be happy. Talk with his teacher, model behavior, role play, and make an effort to really get involved. Your actions can make a world of difference in your child’s ability to befriend children his own age.
More Solutions to Common Parenting Challenges:
- How to Stop Sibling Rivalry In Its Tracks
- When Your Child Wants To Quit An Extra-Curricular
- When Your Child Isn’t Settling Into Daycare
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.