Supporting Friendship Skills

Ways to support young children as they learn how to make and maintain friendships

Young children may be starting to show interest in their peers. But sometimes, sharing, taking turns, or connecting with others can be hard. As they start to play together or begin friendships, children will need our ongoing support with these tricky interactions. It’s our role to teach children social skills and provide opportunity and support as they try them out.

Hallmarks of This Strategy

Create a Safe Space

A cooperative and accepting classroom environment provides a safe and nurturing space for children to practice social interactions.

Teach Social Skills

Intentionally teaching children social skills through books, puppets, and songs will help them understand what is expected in social situations.

Join in the Play

Modeling, prompting interactions, and providing support can help children learn how to navigate interactions with their peers.


Teaching Friendship Skills

In this lesson, we cover tips for explicitly teaching social skills in engaging and meaningful ways, such as using books, puppets, and songs.


Supporting Friendship Skills in the Moment

In this lesson, we see explore ways to support friendship skills in the moment when they occur during play.


Additional Resources

Guide to Supporting Friendship Skills (Español)

Learn more about this strategy and its importance, and learn tips for trying it in your classroom

Family Guide to Supporting Friendship Skills (Español)

Share this guide with families to communicate the strategies you're using at school. Take time to make connections between how children are supported at home and in the classroom.

Additional Resources

More ways you can support children's social and friendship skills
Children sitting in circle on floor with one child talking to another child

An Inclusive Classroom

Create an inclusive classroom where inter-ability friendships thrive.

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Children playing with linking toys together
Brookes Inclusion Lab

Build Social Skills

Eleven activities to build social & communication skills for a wide range of learners, including children with autism.

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Teacher reads a copy of I am a Super Friend story to children during circle time

Be A Super Friend

Use social stories like this one to help children engage in ‘Super Friend’ behaviors.

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Two girls working together at a classroom table

Paired Learning

Learn about strategies you can use to foster social skills in dual language classrooms.

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