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Benefiting for Life: Why Are Childhood Friendships So Important?


Nothing marks childhood like the good old school days when life was simpler and easier. Regardless of what age school was started at, it is a huge milestone in development. And with most school memories come those of friendships. Children are away from home for a full day for the first time. They are learning how to be independent of mom and dad, as bittersweet as that fact is. The friendships made during these years become the support system they don’t know they need.

As adults, you may not remember all the fine details of childhood, but you will remember the friends that were there. A playground date. The birthday parties. Countless sleepovers. All these moments help form who a child becomes as an adult. 

Social Skill Development

Children learn how to read and understand social cues with their friends by being in certain situations. They learn kindness, how to apologize, forgive, and be more assertive when needed. Whether it be play time or more interactive situations as they become a little older, all are important. Children are also born to think about themselves. As they further develop, through friendships and interactions, they learn to be aware of others’ needs. Through these relationships, they can learn how their actions affect others.

Communication Development

Through early friendships, children learn how to use their words to negotiate situations. From a young age, as they progress, they can increase their dialogue abilities and ability to converse effectively. On another side, they learn how words can be helpful or hurtful in relationships. This comes from adult figures in life, parents, and teachers, but sometimes carries more weight from their friendships.

photo of two children playing together with paper masks held over their faces

Emotional Development

Children forming close relationships with others can lead to a sense of security within those people. It also creates more significant relationships and teaches the value of relationships. Emotional intelligence development begins early and continues throughout the adolescent years.

Within the context of these friendships, children learn how to regulate themselves and their emotions. Things will not always go their way, but it becomes a great learning opportunity for future things life will throw in their direction. There is also a self-esteem factor. It feels good to have friends, especially close buddies, to get through school days with. Feeling good helps to create a positive sense of self.

Cognitive Development

Childhood friendships have been shown to influence academic performance. Children have more learning opportunities and overall growth through interactions and activities with friends. Adults with impactful friendships as children tend to find more personal and career success.

Physical Health

Whether it is your close friend or a rival, there is an element of competition that can be found in these early relationships. It can help a child push the boundaries of their abilities, improving their overall physical health. This may mean trying to best a peer in the mile during gym class or completing the most sit-ups. It could also be more outside play time roaming the neighborhood with a group of friends.

Promoting Childhood Friendships

The benefits of developing childhood friendships are so significant to personal and professional success. You want to create an environment for your child to foster these friendships and help guide them along when needed. Sometimes you may need to plan their get-togethers or invite their friends to gatherings for them. Forming friendships with children who share similar interests is key. Offer support when needed. It isn’t always easy, and not every child finds what they need on their own.

Is your child struggling to find their crew? Get in touch with us to learn more about strategies to help them thrive through child therapy.

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Green Heart Therapy provides in-person psychotherapy for adults, teens, and children in Los Angeles and online therapy across California.