In addition to our African American and Latino children, more than half of the families we serve are first-generation immigrants from the Anglophone Caribbean, Haiti and Africa. Reflecting this amazing diversity, our professional staff at Friends of Crown Heights work closely with our families to incorporate into the curriculum many of the cultural traditions of the surrounding community, including such festivals as Kwanzaa and Juneteenth, the Chinese Lunar New Year, Caribbean Labor Day Carnival and of course, our many American national holidays.
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At our Coney Island Center, where the population is primarily Mandarin Chinese, Chinese foster grandparents provide daily classroom support by reading to the children, suggesting native menu selections, encouraging the children to try unfamiliar foods and serving as interpreters for parent-teacher conferences. Our multilingual, multicultural professional staff are also able to provide these critical functions throughout the FOCH network.
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To locate and visit a Fiends of Crown Heights Center near you, use the locator tool on this web site or call us at After they begin playing together regularly as preschoolers, kids are more likely to make regular friends. Even younger school-age children, until they are 10 to 12 years old, may have a new best friend every few months.
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It's often difficult for parents to know for sure if a child has any friends. If you aren't sure if your child has friends, talk to your child's teachers to see how she interacts with other kids at school. Is she always alone in the classroom, at lunch, or during recess? You can simply ask your child about her friends and if she has a best friend, to get a better idea of how well she is making friends, too.
If your child doesn't have friends, it may simply be that he has not had enough opportunities to make them.
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Getting your child involved in plenty of activities with children of his same age and with similar interests can be a great way to find friends for your child. Bring an ice-breaker—such as a toy, pet, or snacks—to help draw other kids to your child when you go to the park or to other activities if your child is not naturally outgoing.
If your child continues to struggle with making friends, consider inviting a child over for a playdate and then closely observing what happens. Is your child too bossy, clingy, aggressive, touchy, or simply too shy to build a friendship with the child? Does he do something that annoys the other kids? If so, see if you can talk to your child and help him do better next time.
Role-playing a play date, in which you pretend you are a friend who has come over to play with your child, can be a helpful way to teach your child more appropriate ways to act around other children. Kids who continue to have problems making friends could have a medical condition affecting their social relationships. These medical conditions can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism , anxiety, and selective mutism in which children don't talk to people outside their immediate family. In fact, not being able to make and keep friends can be an important clue that your child needs help from a medical professional.
Your pediatrician, a child psychologist, or a counselor can be good resources for help when your child continues to have problems making friends. Discussing friendships is also a good topic for your child's yearly well-child checkups with your pediatrician.
Be realistic about your expectations for your child and his friendships. If your child is shy and quiet, then he may be very happy with just one or two good friends and may not want or need a whole group of friends. In general, kids usually have friends that are about the same age as they are.
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However, some prefer to be around older or younger children. For example, children with the hyperactive type of ADHD often end up making friends with much younger kids, since kids their own age don't like playing with them.
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Gifted children often have problems making friends too, preferring to be around adults instead of kids who are their own age. These preferences can be a sign that your child is having problems making friends. Don't push shy children to make friends or into social situations to make friends if it causes too much anxiety or if they aren't ready. Get expert tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy.