The 1 Thing Moms Can Do to Help Their Kids Make Friends

The 1 Thing Moms Can Do to Help Their Kids Make Friends

One mom shares the simple way she helped her reserved preschooler make close friends.

By: Lorraine Allen

To me, a good friend is someone who makes you happy and understands you, someone who makes you feel at ease, even after not seeing them for a long time. Some kids have no trouble making friends. I am not sure what personality traits allow for this, but I saw early on that my kid was not super outgoing with peers. She was never shy, but she has always been cautious and a bit reserved around kids. Maybe because she is fiercely independent. And maybe it’s because she’s an only child or because she is very self-sufficient. She enjoys playing by herself and relies on her boundless imagination and creativity to entertain her, which is a gift. But every kid needs close friends. So I decided to help her create peer relationships that would stick and be fun and meaningful for her. This meant giving her lots of opportunity to make friends, basically. But what really worked in the end was offering her consistency.

For someone who takes time to open up to others, seeing 100 different kids every day on the playground did not make for great opportunities to form close friendships. So I joined a moms’ group of preschoolers in our area and met up with them whenever possible. The issue was, our schedules all kept changing. Work, other kids, classes, naps, etc. This effort for consistency failed, so I tried looking even closer to home. We lived in a new apartment building then, and other families with little kids were moving in. We welcomed them over, and soon became really close with one of the families who had a boy a year younger than our daughter. The kids got along really well, and I was so happy they could play every day and form a real friendship. They shared everything. At the age of 2, they were already talking about marriage!

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Three years later, we moved a mile away, and hanging out every day became impossible, and that was hard. Now a couple more years have passed, and I stayed consistently in touch with that family. The kids see each other about once a month, but because they know each other so well, they are still just as close. So I think my efforts paid off. I also think this friendship has helped my kid form other friendships more easily too because when we moved, she soon became best friends with twins who are our new neighbors, and she is the one making sure she makes time to see them everyday (not me). And I have noticed she is much more open to meeting someone new and forming a friendship at the playground, even if it’s not one that will last forever. She understands the value of opening up and engaging others, and she feels comfortable doing this now. Friends are so important, and I’m so happy for her to have these close relationships.

What ways have you helped your kids make friends?

Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 5-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

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