25 Best Ways to Help Children have Healthy Friendships

Knowing how to  help children to have healthy friendships is one of the best life skills you can ever teach.

I believe that if you learn young about healthy relationships; how to forge them, nurture them and get them through tricky times you will have a better chance when you are older of making good choices about life partners, colleagues and friends.


Image of joyful friends having fun on playground outdoors


How to help children have healthy friendships

Relationships affect our well-being in the most profound way and this is the same if you are 6 or of you are 60.

We all need good friends.

We help children learn to brush their teeth, dress, say please and thank you and a whole myriad of life skills. But we don’t teach them much about friendships do we..not really?

I realised as a mum that the most important bit of school for my kids was playtime. The one thing that could make them sadder and more perplexed than anything else was friendships. I also realised good friendships helped them grow and made their hearts sing with joy. They have a huge impact.

As parents  and educators we don’t always address what matters most including the often tricky subject of friendships. It is an important topic to consider, talk about, and really think about and we need to be engaging with our kids about their feelings and skills in this area.

25 best ways to help kids have healthy friendships

Helping kids develop healthy friendships is crucial for their social and emotional growth. Here are 25 ways to support them in building positive relationships:

  1. Teach Empathy: Encourage them to understand and share others’ feelings.
  2. Model Healthy Behavior: Demonstrate respectful communication and kindness in your interactions.
  3. Active Listening: Teach them to listen attentively and show interest in their friends’ thoughts and feelings.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Equip them with problem-solving skills to handle disagreements and conflicts.
  5. Encourage Inclusion: Promote inclusivity and discourage cliques or exclusionary behavior.
  6. Teach Respect for Differences: Emphasize the importance of accepting people’s diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  7. Communication Skills: Help them express themselves clearly and assertively without being aggressive.
  8. Boundaries: Teach them to set and respect personal boundaries as well as those of their friends.
  9. Encourage Shared Interests: Support them in finding and pursuing common hobbies or activities with peers.
  10. Role-Playing: Engage in role-playing scenarios to help them practice social interactions.
  11. Positive Self-Esteem: Foster a positive self-image to reduce the likelihood of seeking approval through negative means.
  12. Teach Trustworthiness: Discuss the importance of honesty and keeping promises in friendships.
  13. Digital Etiquette: Educate them on responsible online behavior, including cyberbullying prevention.
  14. Problem-Solving Together: Offer guidance on how to work through challenges with their friends.
  15. Friendship Circles: Encourage them to have multiple friends and not rely solely on one person.
  16. Respect Personal Time: Help them understand that friends need space and time for themselves too.
  17. Model Healthy Boundaries: Demonstrate appropriate adult friendships as an example.
  18. Acceptance of Change: Discuss how friendships evolve and change over time.
  19. Praise Kindness: Acknowledge and praise acts of kindness towards friends.
  20. Help Develop Social Skills: Practice making eye contact, initiating conversations, and using appropriate body language.
  21. Identify Toxic Relationships: Teach them to recognize and distance themselves from toxic friendships.
  22. Support Emotional Intelligence: Help them understand and manage their own emotions as well as others’.
  23. Teach Loyalty: Emphasize the importance of standing by friends in times of need.
  24. Encourage Group Activities: Foster teamwork and collaboration through group games and projects.
  25. Monitor Online Activity: Keep an eye on their social media use and address any negative online behavior promptly.

Remember that every child is unique, and their needs may vary. The key is to provide guidance, maintain open communication, and create a safe environment for them to learn and grow in their friendships.



Healthy Friendship cards and activities




I am delighted to tell you have just made some conversation cards to encourage those important discussions with our children about friendship. These cards are intended to be used in classrooms, in therapy sessions, or even round the dinner table. Each pack contains 48 question cards to prompt discussions.

They also contain a selection of instruction cards to guide their use and show how they can be adapted to different ages of children and levels of understanding.


Healthy Friendships


How to help children have healthy friendships – ask the right questions

The questions are split into 4 colour coded sections.

  • Thinking about friendships you have right now
  • How to make friends
  • How to be a good friend
  • How to manage friendships difficulties

Oh couldn’t we all do with being better in there areas!

Healthy Friendships


Sometimes to get children telling us what is going on for them we just need to get the conversations started. The questions on these cards should prompt some important conversations that could make all the difference to your children’s life, now and their future choices.

Let’s get talking…

My Friendship cards are available here.



Further reading on healthy friendships

You might also like my post on how to help a child to make new friends.

Why childhood friendship is so important

How to help a child make new friends



  1. February 22, 2016 / 8:22 am

    These are such a good idea, and I could do with a pack myself if I am honest. These will help all children but I am particularly interested as a parent with a child on the autism spectrum.

    • becky
      February 22, 2016 / 10:10 am

      Oh thanks Joy am really hoping they make a difference x

  2. February 22, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    What a really good idea Becky. I think we could all do with these ourselves to be honest 🙂 x

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:08 am

      We could xx

  3. February 22, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    It’s so important for children to have great friends and good relationships to grown and develop. Great piece x

    • becky
      February 22, 2016 / 12:41 pm

      Thankyou x

  4. Amanda
    February 22, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    Brilliant idea, well done Becky, you are amazing!

    • becky
      February 22, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      You are pretty amazing too my friend x

  5. February 22, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    That’s a brilliant and I’m sure much needed idea, Becky!

  6. February 22, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    As an ex-teacher I had to deal with a lot of these issues and really believe in the importance of teaching children about friendships – great piece!

  7. February 22, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Really love this idea Becky, the simple things are often the most effective, although I bet it took time to come up with the right questions!

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:07 am

      It did!

  8. February 22, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Great idea. I’m a huge fan of conversation cards. Sure these will do well – should be given to all first-time parents 🙂

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:07 am

      should be taught in schools i think. Relationships are the crux of life! Thanks Steph x

  9. February 22, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    This is such a brilliant idea, it’s so important to look after our kids mental health and this is a fab way to do it. Hurrah to you for setting such a good example 🙂 I’ve written a bit about MH and how important it is to teach Oliver good habits, he’s only 3 but there are some good questions about friends that I can give to him age appropriately.

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:06 am

      Fabulous that you are thinking about this so young emotional/mental health often comes down the list whilst we care physically..and it really shouldn’t

  10. February 22, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    These look like a really interesting product, I agree with you that there is so many things that you need to teach kids. Friendships are the hardest thing to teach.

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:05 am

      They really are!

  11. February 22, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    This is such a great idea, Becky. I’m a complete nosy, chatterbox with my children so tend to talk more about what happens on the social side of school as opposed to in lessons. The relationship side of things intrigues me. I know others who don’t find it so easy though and these conversation starters will be a huge help.

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:05 am

      Thankyou x

  12. February 22, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    So impressed, Becky. Going to buy a pack! I think these are going to be hugely successful and even more beneficial to so many children (and adults!) Lots of love, you amazing lady. Katie xox

    • becky
      February 23, 2016 / 7:02 am

      Aw thank you Katie – you helped teach me the importance of communicating with my kids from a very young age x

  13. February 23, 2016 / 9:08 am

    This is a really great idea, well done you! So many children have issues with mental health and bullying especially in the teenage years and if we could get them to talk about their feelings earlier and not feel it’s an embarrassment or a taboo, such problems could perhaps be prevented or at least helped in some way x

  14. February 23, 2016 / 9:41 am

    These are such a good idea Becky. Congrats on getting them designed, produced and to market. Great stuff! The cards will make it much easier for us to approach these tricky conversations with our children. My LO is only 3, but i’ve already started praising him when he shares, helps his friends out etc.. I also tell him when he’s not being all that nice and ask him how it might make his friends feel. I will bookmark this for when he’s a bit older. I hate the thought of him not being able to make friends. We just want our kids to be happy don’t we?

  15. February 23, 2016 / 11:26 am

    This is brilliant-we’re starting to have lots of these conversations since my little boy started school, things that as adults we don’t really think about as much but they’re important to him. Really good idea! x

  16. February 23, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Such a fabulous idea and well done you on creating such a useful and essential tool. So many of us, children and adults will benefit x

  17. February 24, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    Such a great resource. I hope my two girls will grow up to really value their friendships. It’s so important for social development.

  18. MonaLise
    February 24, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    WhAt an awesome resource! As a social worker, mom of An asd son and mom to a daughter that we have all too many conversations about being a good friend, These conversation cards bring it to “everyone” not just those that have difficulties.

    Where would I find these?

    Thank you!

  19. Jacqueline
    February 24, 2016 / 9:36 pm

    I am fm Singapore. Would like to purchase 1. How do I go about doing it?

  20. Ursula
    February 24, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    Hello, this is such a wonderful idea! Please can you advise he age group it is targeted at. Thank you x

    • becky
      February 25, 2016 / 6:05 am

      the cads can be adapted to work with small children through to young teens

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