Making friends, breaking friends, being a good friend. These are all issues that effect every child (and lots of adults too!) at some point and they can be terribly stressful, challenging and upsetting.
From their early days in nursery, through play, children are learning essential social skills and learning about themselves too. Experimenting with friendships is a very normal phase and to be encouraged, and as social skills are refined and they mature, children change their minds about who they want to be friends with and the qualities and commonalities they are seeking in a friend.
Friendship groups change and morph and along the way some children get left out or feel rejected and isolated. And it isn’t just a feature of primary school; the move to secondary school is fraught with friendship issues as children break free from old friendships to make a new social group. The mix and number of new children to meet and form friendships with in those transition years is often overwhelming but it is very normal and is happening all across the country right now.
Moving schools and being the new kid can also present a challenge as children may have left good, solid friendships behind them and are now presented with a new area, new buildings to navigate and brand new friendships to forge.
Children’s books are often built around the subject of friendship and through relating to the characters in stories and the issues they have, we can help reassure and comfort children that what they are experiencing, although often very upsetting, is normal and that things will, at some point, get better.
We have gathered a selection of books where friendships, new, old, good, bad or difficult, are at the core of the story.
And Kidscape has some useful resources, videos and online activities on Being a Good Friend, Telling Tales and What Makes a Good Friend. www.kidscape.org.uk