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The Importance of Friendships for Children

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Do you remember your first friend? Or your first play date? It’s possible you don’t remember it, but your parents or your first teachers might. Knowing what you know now as an adult, I’m sure you can imagine how important it would have been for your development. Imagine a child learning how to play with another, developing skills that allow for patience and sharing and trust. These are lifelong skills that will come in handy later on at school, at work, at home, everywhere.


Paul Schwartz, a professor of psychology and child behavior expert has written in the Hudson Valley Parent that “Friends contribute significantly to the development of social skills, such as being sensitive to another’s viewpoints.” He also says that “more than half the children referred for emotional behavioral problems have no friends or find difficulty interacting with peers.” Young childhood friendships can greatly influence a child’s positive, and negative, behavior when it comes to life stress and transition and how to cope with adjustment or change.


Making connections with other kids at young ages will shape their futures. These connections will expose your child to new positive and negative behaviors that will help them learn the differences in others. This will help your child start to learn about who they are as an individual and shape their personality. Think about it - they take behavior cues from their parents, their teachers, and other adults but they will definitely learn these from other children their age too.

Their Circle

The benefits of friendships for children can be very similar to that of adults. These connections can help children learn about the sense of togetherness, belonging, security, and reduced stress outside of their family circle. Growing their circle of friends and family will help them open up to a wider support system as well.


When growing up, the classroom environment can be a stressful one. Making friends at school can really help a student build self-esteem and boost their performance. When students have the ability to work together on school activities, they learn how to share, how to work together, and how to learn and focus without feeling overwhelmed, or left behind. This can also show students how to be sensitive to viewpoints of others when they offer new solutions to school activities, as well as rules of conversation they may not receive at home.

Sharing your baby with others can be a huge obstacle to overcome, especially when your child is old enough to go to school. These bittersweet feelings are totally normal, equal parts elating and worrisome, watching your child grow into their own person. Try to remember those friends they make along the way will be there to help them when you won’t be so help them learn to accept and grow with them.

Do you have any childhood friends you’re still close to?

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