AGES 6 to 7
Your first or second grader may be pickier about who his close pals are, but the criteria for choosing them is still pretty simple: Is the other kid fun and does he share the same interests? The challenge is how to start conversations and create relationships with kids who might not love the same things yours does, says Anthony.
How You Can Help
Let Her Dabble. If your child likes swimming, sign her up for lessons.But have her try a few other hobbies, too. She’ll get experience joining groups and starting conversations about new topics.
Practice Chatting. Talk to your child about the difference between yes/no questions (“Do you like soccer?”) and ones that might get more of a response and lead to further bonding (“Why do you like soccer?”).
Role Model. If your child is having trouble joining in or making new friends, demonstrate. “It’s tough for adults to start conversations with strangers,” admits Anthony, “but if you do, point it out.” Tell your child, “I didn’t even know that other mom, but I asked her about her son’s bike helmet and we had a conversation.”
Stories to explore the ups and downs of palling around.
Ivy + Bean
by Annie Barrows
by Nikki Grimes
by Arnold Lobel