Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tips to foster friendships for the students in your class.

In order to form healthy friendships, students must develop interpersonal skills to learn how to communicate and engage with peers. It is important to remember that children learn best through example. Teachers should remain to be a good role model for their students, expressing positive attitudes and values towards other people. Children will be more likely to do the same with their own friends.


Tip 1 – Encourage play dates

Communicate to parents the benefits of students visiting other student’s houses to play. Students will be provided with multiple opportunities to listen to their friends and their friend’s family and sharing toys. They will also be exposed to different family dynamics and cultures that the students will learn to accept and value. Try to observe the social dynamics in class and discuss with parents with students their children are compatible with.

Tip 2 – Teach the essential ingredients of a healthy friendship

Explain to your students how honesty, trust, respect and loyalty are the essential ingredients to a healthy relationship. Make sure you provide your students with easy to understand definitions to these things, as they may not truly know what they mean. Role playing scenarios are a great way to involve students in the learning process of what makes a good friend.

Tip 3 – Group involvement in tasks

Program lessons that involve students’ in group work. This will provide students with the opportunity to spend time with their class peers and to develop communication skills. Especially for students that are shy, group work will help them develop socialisation skills with peers they are familiar with.

Tip 4 – Positive values and attitudes

When students are encouraged to interact with peers, they will form better values and attitudes about school and learning. When their friends are present, they tend to enjoy the school environment more.

Tip 5 – Piaget’s theory of play

Piaget’s theory of play explains the important link between child’s play and cognitive enrichment. It is integral to students’ social development that they are provided with the time to simply play games. This is a great way to teach them important social skills such as taking turns, listening, cooperation, leadership and sportsmanship. The more that can practice and understand these concepts, the better friend they with be. The good ‘ol saying, “treat others the way you want to treated” is an important mantra to be expressed with your students (Red Chair Press 2012).

Tip 6 – Learn to live in someone else’s shoes

It is important for your students to realise how another person is feeling, especially in their friendships. Discuss with your students the different situations their peers may be placed in and how this makes them feel and how they think their friends feel. Teaching them how to recognise how others may be feeling or another person’s point of view is an important milestone to building friendships.

Tip 7 – You must crawl before you walk

You must not force your students to interact with particular children or form friendships. This sort of pressure will not do any good and will only overwhelm your students and may turn them off the idea of making friends. Instead, provide your class with a little advice and encourage them to interact independently. Let them figure out what works for them at their own pace (Red Chair Press 2012).

Tip 8 – Clubs and Sports

Research social events of the local area that may be of interest to your students. Activities such as visual art classes, performing arts workshops, sporting teams and Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts are an effective way to include students in a social setting where they already have a common interest in the extracurricular activity. Provide this information in class newsletters so the parents are informed. If there are families who may not be able to afford the registration of these activities, organise a round robin event with the involvement of other schools competing.

Tip 9 – Social Skills Rule!

Collaborate with your students in the making of a class behaviour agreement that consists of a list of social rules that the students believe negatively impact friendships. For example: not to snatch things off others, keep your hands and feet to yourself, don’t call people names e.t.c.

Tip 10 – Be a good role model

Remember to be a good role model. If your students see you engaging in conversation with other teachers, the children’s parents and talking to the class about friends of your own, they will begin to learn what friendship means and what it takes to maintain one.


Dray, S. (2011). How to teach children healthy friendships, last accessed: 19/10/2012,

Red Chair Press (2012). Tips to Foster Friendships for Children, last accessed: 19/10/2012,

Steuber, E. (2012). Activities Promoting Friendship Between Children, last accessed: 19/10/2012,

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