Help Your Child Foster Friendships

Melissa Kossler Dutton

It’s not uncommon for parents to quiz their kids in preparation for a test or lob endless pitches to would-be baseball players. Most moms and dads consider it part of the job description to help kids with their schoolwork or engage in the sports and hobbies their youngsters enjoy. But many children could use some tutoring in a different area: learning to make and keep friends. These are important tools that some parents may not think to teach.

In observation of National New Friends Day, which is celebrated Oct. 19, we’ve gathered some resources to make sure your kids are developing and maintaining good friendships. The task is especially important, according to, as children spend more time in organized sports and less time outside playing in the neighborhood. Friendships are valuable for a number of reasons: They increase self-esteem, foster leadership skills and help children learn to handle conflict.

PBS suggests parents and kids discuss what qualities make a good friend and brainstorm ways to connect with other children, at

The Child Mind Institute recommends preparing children for play dates by helping them choose some activities and helping them recognize social cues that indicate whether guests are enjoying themselves:

Finally, Good Therapy has some advice for older kids whose circle of friends may change as they mature or change schools. Find it at