I have just finished all of my parent teacher conferences. One topic that kept coming up was playdates. Unless your first grade child is a twin, then he/she does not have a built in playmate. You may think that having a younger/older sibling, cousin, neighbor, babysitter, etc. is enough of a friend to play with for your child, but it is not. Your child is growing and maturing and developing friendships here at school. He/she wants to play with his/her classmates but does not have much of an opportunity to do that during the school day. I realize that these children are kept quite busy by their parents with all of their extracurricular activities that take them from one end of the week to the other. Your child needs time to explore friendships with someone his/her exact age, learn to share his/her toys and home with a friend and practice the social skills needed to be a friend. Your child needs you to help set up an occasional playdate with a classmate. This might involve having the friend come home on the bus for an hour after school, or you could try Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to set up an hour or two for your child to play. He/she needs it, learns from the experience and uses the knowledge gained from the playdate to further develop the art of making and keeping friends. Children do not automatically know how to make friends and they do need a little guidance from us. They should be provided to opportunity to practice being a friend as often as possible and you will be amazed at how your child’s social skills will develop with your assistance.