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National Friendship Day

National Friendship Day happens every year on the first Sunday of August. This day is special because it celebrates the importance of platonic relationships. Friendships are vital from a young age as it helps your child/children to develop vital social and emotional skills for development in the social world. Friendships can teach a child a huge variety of skills and feelings such as; sharing, communication, trust, vulnerability, comfort, distress etc. In life, it is vital for anyone to experience a friendship as it helps to form and define who you are and even create the person that you want to be.

Friends can help build and boost your self-confidence and help you to adapt easier to early childhood environments. Yes of course sometimes friends argue and have disagreements and your toddlers friend may push him over when he doesn’t want to share a certain toy, but this squabbling allows for important learning opportunities. Conflict appears because children don’t have the skills to analyse disagreements, which gives the parents/carers/teachers etc. the chance to teach them to use their words rather than hitting and snatching. This is a vital teaching moment in any child’s life so we must give them some guidance.

As children mature, their friends are able to help reduce stress and navigate difficult and challenging development experiences – specifically during those teenage years. Friends can also positively affect children’s health as if they actively play together there is less chance of there being reasons for not exercising i.e. Low self-esteem, being self-conscious or a lack of enjoyment. Laughing and smiling together and sharing special occasions or days out with friends is so important for children’s mental health too. Knowing you have a friend who cares about you helps children to gain self-confidence and feel supported.

It’s not always easy for children to manage their friendships as this involves multiple skills that children must learn and develop when they are at a young age. For some, these skills come naturally (going from one friendship group to another, sharing experiences and opening up to new and different people). But for others the friendship world can be much more difficult to understand and master, so it is vital that we as parents/carers/teachers etc. allow them to navigate this world on their own without interfering too much (unless it is deemed necessary of course) but by guiding and supporting them when needed.

However, we can help our children to build and develop their social skills by showing them how friendships work, finding other children with similar interests to them, giving your older child/children some ice breakers to start conversations and to help boost their confidence so that they don’t feel inferior to others. There is so much that we can do to help so we must try our absolute best to give children the assistance that they need to form friendships that could potentially last a lifetime.

Of course friendships at any stage in life are full of many ups and downs so it is important that we are there to listen, offer advice and to be there for our child/children so that they don’t feel alone and so we can try to create a solution for the problem at hand.

We would like to leave you with a quote about friendship: “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be”. We hope you have an amazing National Friendship Day!

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