Friendships are so important to kids. As parents, we want to help our children make (and keep) good friends but, it’s not always easy. We’re not there with our kids. And our kids need to learn the strategies on their own anyway. That’s why we need friendship books like Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends by Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin. This book gives kids ages 6 – 12 tools and strategies to improve their relationships with other kids.
Plus, if you’re like me, you may also tap out after a few nuggets of wisdom (“say hello” or “ask if you can play with them”). So for those of us who need specific, intentional strategies, this book is a must-own.
Not to mention, I’m pretty sure telling my kids what to do doesn’t ever work. However, showing kids examples does work. And this book has plenty of examples. (You may even want to role play these!)
Just this morning I read a section of this book to my daughter with the cartoon examples. The cartoon illustrations depict real-life examples of social skills in practice. You’ll find these very relatable and realistic, sometimes even humorous.
In this section, we read how to join a group. The book shared the strategy of: observe, blend, and then join. There were plenty of helpful cartoons showing examples of how to do each step. The examples showed both strategies that worked for kids and strategies that didn’t. (No cannonballs into a group peacefully swimming.)
What else will you find in this research-based friendship book? It’s divided into the following sections:
Part 1: Reaching Out to Make Friends
Part 2: Stepping Back to Keep Friends
Part 3: Blending In to Join Friends
Part 4: Speaking Up to Share With Friends
Part 5: Letting Go to Accept Friends
Within each of these parts are several chapters that break things up into smaller parts. In section II: Blending In to Join Friends, the subsections are “Join the Fun”, “Match the Tone”, and “Contribute to the Team”.
I like that you can find the topics that apply to the needs of your child and jump straight to those sections.
Kids easily could read this book on their own. Even better is for parents to share this book with their child so that rich conversations can happen around what is read and what the child is trying out.
I’ve added this book to my list: Essential Back-to-School Books for Kids.
More about the authors:
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., is an expert on parenting and children’s feelings and friendships. She serves on the advisory board for PARENTS magazine and writes the Growing Friendships blog for PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, and she has a private practice where she works with adults, children and families.
Christine McLaughlin is a professional writer whose work focuses on parenting and health. She has published hundreds of articles and written many books.