Seven Reasons Why Friendship is Important for Kids
Friendship is an essential part of children’s life. Spending good time with friends not only makes them happy but also teaches them some very important social and emotional skills. Good friends create the sense of belonging for children and it also helps them develop their own identity. Younger kids learn how to share and how to get along with other kids. Older kids develop the ability to think through and control their emotions.
Here are 7 reasons why friendship is important for your kids:
- It develops social skills
Spending quality time with friends helps children develop many social skills like empathy and altruism. They learn how to get along with other people and be able to think of someone else and not just themselves. Friendship also teaches them how to resolve conflicts that can arise, compromise, and make up.
Having the ability to work with friends in school has many benefits. For example, when my daughter gets a group project with her friends, she gets more excited to work with her friends rather than when she is by herself. They communicate and plan together, are respectful of the others’ opinions, and keep them focused on finishing by a certain deadline. If one of the kids in the group gets stuck on a problem the others can lend her a hand. What results from this is that they learn that there is no harm in asking for help when needed. As older children, they are very comfortable discussing their problems with their friends and asking for their advice.
2. It enhances creativity and develops leadership skills
When children play together in a group, they learn how to make decisions as a team, and even how to lead the group throughout the game. When younger children play freely with their friends, they imagine all different kinds of stories. Sometimes they pretend they’re a superhero who is flying, and sometimes they imagine they’re a policeman arresting the bad guys (my 3.5 years old son does that). There are many cognitive benefits when a child learns to broaden their imagination.
3. It boosts self confidence
Friendship boosts well-being and self-confidence. Spending some quality time with friends helps children be happy and develop good communication skills. Good friends have a positive influence on other children. Sometimes children need moral support from their friends to achieve their goals; whether they are anxious to enter into a competition or take the lead in a game. When a good friend praises them for winning the competition or supports them for trying something new (may be trying a new hairstyle), children feel comforted, connected, and it makes them feel good about themselves.
4. It creates positive influence
Children are often afraid to do some activities but when they watch their friends doing it, it encourages them to try new things too. For example, my eldest daughter is not fond of painting but my second daughter is. When my second daughter was going to begin a painting class I asked my eldest if she also wanted to join. She told me that she doesn’t want to join because she is not very good at painting. A short while later, she got excited when she found out that her friends were joining the painting class only then agreed to join it too. Now both my daughters go together with their friends and they have a great time. When they return home from the class, they each show me their art work and are so proud of what they accomplished.
5. It helps in reduce stress/sadness
My eldest daughter has already started her tween phase. Last year her class sections got shuffled when they started their new academic year. She became so sad because all her best friends were not in the same class anymore. She used to cry because she was scared they would make new friends and they all will forget about her. We talked a lot about it. I explained to her that people can always make new friends and also stay connected to their old friends. It took some time but she was okay after she made some new friends in her new class. Now whenever she comes home, she always has so many stories from her friends to share.
6. It can help the children learn different cultures
Having friends from different countries and cultures is always exciting. They learn new things about their language, their food, and their culture. This can teach them how to respect other people and cultures that are different from their own.
Another aspect is that children get to learn about different family structures. Some families have moms who are housewives, while others have moms that go out to work. Some families have two parents, while others have single parents. It is important for children to be exposed to all types of families and to realize that there is no perfect family structure or dynamic.
7. It keeps them physically active
Playing outside on a bright sunny day in the fresh air is definitely what is required more these days when children spend most of their time sitting in front of screens. It has even become more important during this pandemic when children have their school online too.
Running, riding bicycles, exploring nature, playing on swings, are all great ways to be active. It is far more likely for a kid to play outside (and to play outside for longer amounts of time) when they are playing with their friends rather than playing on their own.
In conclusion, friendship is very important for children’s development. It helps them grow, and it teaches them many different types of skills which helps them later in life. It is not important how big or small one’s circle of friends is. The only important factor is that they are comfortable and happy with their friends. After all, the most important thing is to be happy and have fun with your friends.