Friendships can be hard for anyone to maintain, but for some kids, like those with autism, it’s even harder. I received this book, Growing Friendships, in exchange for an honest review, and it has all the “secret” rules to making and keeping friends. There are a few things I really like about this book.
1. It’s not just about making friendships happen.
The book doesn’t just talk about how to approach people and make friends, but about how to maintain friendships. Tips like how to be a good sport, how to respect others’ choices, and move past conflict are all represented in this book. You also learn about how to reach out to make friends, blend in to join friendships, and step back and give space to make friends.
2. The cat and dog cartoons are the cutest!
Inserted throughout the book are a comic book cat and dog who pipe in to give helpful suggestions that work for pets, but not necessarily for humans. It’s cute and funny, and it’s overtly stated that maybe these things don’t work so well for humans.
3. It gives great examples of how to exhibit the characteristics of a friend
The book is written in a child-friendly way, with short excerpts of writing and comic-strip characters who then demonstrate the correct (and incorrect) ways to interact with others. It makes it easy to establish friendships because everything is super-kid-friendly and easy to read.
4. It gives great calming strategies for criers and emotional kids
You know those kids who get upset and are either a ball of rage or a pile of tears? It talks about how not to be a crier and gives wonderful calming strategies to help those kids break the cycle. It has emergency calming techniques, how to self-comfort, moving toward positive thoughts, and avoiding negative thoughts.
5. The “Now You Try” sections are fantastic
It’s kind of like homework for the kids to try out, but it’s not made that way. There are guiding questions to think about as they move toward building up these strategies. Like, after the “Reach Out” section, it asks about interests they might have to build common ground with others, who they can compliment, how to prevent themselves from being an “Octopus Friend,” and who they might like to invite to the house. Each section is different, but each has these types of guiding questions to help the shy friendship builder start to make real friends.
This is a great book that helps kids who struggle to make friends build really important social skills. They can read it independently, but I would suggest reading along with your child or previewing the book so you can follow-up, especially when they get to the “Now You Try” parts of the book. It’s fantastically written for that child who either has social anxiety or autism build friendships over time.
You can use the following affiliate link to purchase this book from Amazon!