Top tips for helping kids make friends at school
Published 29/08/23 by Amy Blanchard
As they start to play together, they’ll build skills that help them with friendships now and forever, like sharing, listening to others, seeing other points of view and managing disagreements. Although little ones don’t reeeeeally start to form that ‘friends for life status’ until well into primary school, there’s a lot you can do at home to start building their confidence and help support them as they make new playground pals. Here are some of our top activities and ideas to help your small schoolers make friends.
Explore different scenarios by putting on a show! They could act out where they would go, what they would play with and what they might say to other children. It’s also a good idea to explore how friends can like all sorts of different things and that’s ok. This kind of pretend play helps little ones learn how to create and maintain friendships.
Listen and learn
We’ve got tons of Tonies that talk about making friends. For the younger kids, we love Bing Bunny and Peppa Pig. Peppa has loooooads of friends like Suzy Sheep and Rebecca Rabbit, so she’s pretty experienced in helping, sharing and listening. Next up, we have Bing, who mirrors a preschooler's real-life experience – what better way to prepare our little learners for what to expect? Then for the older kids, The Little Prince Tonie is a timeless tale about a boy who has left his home planet to try and find new friends. Psssst fans of fantasy and science-fiction will love this one.
Talk the talk
However big and grown up you are, talking to new people can feel scary. Confident speakers are more likely to get involved in classroom chats with their teachers and pals, so how do we get to that stage? Well, the Toniebox is FUN-damental! The repetitive songs and stories on their Tonies are super helpful as children echo exciting new words that they may not hear in everyday conversations at home. In fact, word on the playground is that the Toniebox is now PROVEN to increase children’s vocabulary, language and attention in just four months... yippeee!*
You can also try using their Creative-Tonie to record some ‘opening lines’ together. They can use this to practise starting a conversation. Simple things like ‘what did you do at the weekend’ or ‘what do you have for lunch today’, can help them feel a little more prepared for making the first move.
Sharing is caring
In your tiny tots world, what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is also theirs, sound familiar? But when it comes to friendship, sharing really is caring. Practise turn-taking by playing simple games with them and alternating doing something fun. You could both pick your number one Tonie and take turns popping it on their Toniebox. This can help with learning how to share and how to cope when things don’t go their way.
Try inviting their pals over for a play-date and let them play something collaborative and fun together. Maybe bake a cake, build a den or put together a puzzle. Our tonie-tastic tip is to assign the Silly Sounds free content on to their Creative-Tonie for guaranteed giggles all round. What a way to break the ice! Ps. It’s a good idea to try smaller meetups, rather than the whole crew, so it gives little ones more of a chance to get to know each other.
Silly Sounds Sample
Name their feelings
Putting a name to what they’re feeling can guide little learners through their emotions and help to boost their communication skills. It might go a little something like this: “I can see you were feeling a bit angry when you threw Oscar’s dinosaur across the room, right?” And then encourage them to think how that made another child feel – “How do you think Oscar felt when that happened? How would you have felt?” Set some time aside everyday to talk to them about how their day went and what they felt. Bedtime is a great time to do this, as that’s when kids’ minds will be digesting their day.
Children change their friends like the wind. Yesterday’s friend didn’t like their green jacket and today’s friend didn’t want to share their playdoh sandwich. It’s important to discuss with your little ones that all friends make mistakes and friends don’t always agree or do what they want them to do. That’s life!
Those first small experiences can feel so big at school, so to help, we’ve created a toe-tapping soundtrack all about their first day for them to get moving and grooving to. This catchy song talks them through what they might get up to and helps them get excited for it. It also reassures them that ‘taking time because everything’s brand new’ is totally fine!
First Day at School Sample
And parents of first-day-of-schoolers – well done for getting your little learners to this big milestone. It’s ok to feel emotional – we’re emotional at the thought of it! So a great big good luck to them, and an even bigger pat on the back to you.
* Good Play Guide 2023 Results