The Relationship Between Friends and Success
Friendship not only helps your child develop strong lifelong social skills – there is another important benefit that might prompt you to ensure that the bonds your child is building are healthy, worthwhile connections with peers.
What You Need to Know
According to a study about learning and motivation, friend influence can be a major factor. Even in children as young as kindergarteners, academic achievement and peer social interactions are clearly and closely related. However, the connection should not be shocking:
- It is widely understood that children with strong social skills and solid friendships have higher self-esteem than peers who don't – and high self-esteem is vital to academic success.
- Children's peers play an important role in language and literacy success during these years, as children develop skills that precede and are necessary for success in reading and writing.
Some groups of children have problems interacting with other children, which can lead to problems with self esteem, depression, and anxiety, which can all lead to learning difficulties.
- A healthy relationship between two young children is one in which both are respectful toward one another, speak highly of one another, and talk excitedly about the things they do together.
- An unhealthy relationship is one that brings a child unhappiness due to anger or jealousy that may lead to attempted use of aggression or name-calling to get one's way.
How You Can Help
- When you notice your child befriending a peer who is not a positive influence, arranging a few play dates with other children can go a long way. Even when children know something's not quite right, they don't often know how to remove themselves from their situation.
- Talk to your child about his choice of friends. Even 5-year-olds understand perfectly well the different between friends who are nice and friends who aren't. Conversations about what makes a good friend, and why hitting or name-calling are no-no's, can have lasting impressions in teaching your child how to treat people – as well as what treatment to tolerate from others.
- Maintain an open relationship with your child's teacher to keep in touch about your child's social skills and friendships.
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