Friendship skills are at the root of all relationships children create. We often think of manners and consideration but we dismiss the social essentials, what does it take to make friends.
Friendship competence can be built in children of all ages, and backgrounds with the use of intentional strategies from adults.
Provide opportunity - Pair children with others, the ability to gain and maintain friends is a matter of trial and error. Children with more opportunity to interact with support have the a greater social competence.
Create a safe environment - Set the ground rules by explaining good friendship skills, set the tone. Ask the question "what are our good friendship skills"? and let the children create their own social rules (they are generally more severe and hold each other accountable.
Stay within hearing distance - Do not get too distracted to hear conversations of children as they interact, especially in new social settings. You will be able to correct any inappropriate interaction, gently guide the conversation, discuss tone and manners. E.g. "That didn't sound nice, please asking again in a nicer tone". Be mindful of hoovering, you want them to naturally engage.
Praise the children - Catch the children when using appropriate interaction. Take a picture as a reminder and tell them you are proud of them. Be specific about the action you are praising, "I love how you asked for the toy".