How to make friends and keep them

Making friends can be daunting at any age, but even more so when you are five and about to start school in September.

This is one of parents’ main worries as their child approaches the new school term, with research by Disney Junior’s Vampirina TV show revealing that it was a source of anxiety for 69% of parents.

Linda Blair, parenting expert and psychologist, commented:

“To make friends children must be able to consider life from other people’s points of view so they can appreciate and react to what others want to do and enjoy. Although young children show they’re capable of appreciating other viewpoints, they don’t normally apply this skill until they’re about five years old. This is why it’s important to start introducing them to this skill at a young age. Once they can understand empathy it will feel like second nature to them to behave in those adaptive ways.'

Together with Disney Junior, Linda has developed some tips on how you can empower your child and help them develop empathy, to increase their ability to make friends. These are

How can I help?

If you think another child isn’t sure about whether to join in with what you’re doing, invite them to do something with you. Everyone likes to feel included.

Sharing is caring

When you’re with your new classmates, offer to share your toys and playground equipment, so you can all play together.

Take turns

At break time, make sure everyone you’re with gets to have a turn at whatever you’re all doing. They’ll like you for being kind.

Let’s pretend

Knowing how other people are feeling will help you understand what makes other people happy. If your school has a drama club, join it, and ask to be in the school play, too, so you can learn different ways of feeling and behaving. At home, ask your family to play ‘let’s pretend’ games with you.

Caring isn’t just about people

A good way to practice helping others feel better after school is to help care for your pets. And guess what? Your pets will love you specially because of what you do!