6 Ways to Celebrate Girls’ Special Friendships

Whether they bond over a love of shoveling sand into buckets at the local park or their mutual affinity for the blue chairs in pre-school, finding that first friend is a milestone for little girls. Of course, little boys make (and need) friends too, but there’s plenty of compelling evidence out there that girls need close, personal friends in different ways from their male counterparts.

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Girls’ friends help lower their stress, give them a sense of belonging, and can even make them healthier in the long run. Sounds like everything you could you want for your girl and more, right?

At this age, kids depend on their parents to help them get much needed friend time, so here’s how to celebrate those special friendships in your daughter’s life:

  1. Indulge in impromptu sleepovers. A carefully kept calendar may be a mom’s best friend, but when your little girl runs into her BFF in the supermarket and begs to have her hop in the car, give in (at least occasionally). It will send a message that friendship isn’t something you schedule into your life; it’s always there.
  2. Sign her up for a class with her buddies. It’s natural to hesitate when your child asks to join an activity because a friend has signed on. Will they really enjoy it and stick it out for the long haul? But you’d be wise to put those fears aside now and again. Elementary school girls in particular tend to form friendships around common interests like soccer or dance, and it gives them something to fall back on.
  3. Keep it social. You may feel like your phone is constantly ringing, but consider this practice for the future. Keeping friends close throughout your life is a vital part of health, and studies show that most adults depend on technology to keep those bonds alive. So let her use the phone after her homework’s done and the dog’s been fed.
  4. Volunteer for carpool. Being the mom who drives the kids to soccer practice or picks them up after music class gives you a chance to eavesdrop on all that girl chatter in the backseat. You don’t have to listen to it all (and let’s face it, you probably shouldn’t), but kids tend to be unguarded when a parent is driving and pretending to ignore them. Even half-listening to them/half to the radio will arm you with plenty of information to connect with your girl and her friends down the line.
  5. Let them pack heavy. It may look like they’re moving out when you see the number of bags they’ve put together for a two-hour playdate, but elementary-school friends bond over fantasy play. If she wants to pack her new WellieWishers dolls and all their accessories for an afternoon of imagining with her besties, let her!
  6. Learn to step back. This may be the hardest thing you ever do, but sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team. When your daughter says she wants to call a friend or invite a few girls over because she’s going through something tough, let it happen. Offer to talk through whatever is going on, but know that her turning to friends in her time of need is a natural progression in life and not an insult to you. Getting her through something tough will help strengthen that friendship bond and help your daughter grow.

How do you help strengthen your daughter’s friendships?

 

Image via iStock.com/Christopher Futcher

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