Children teach adults how to make friends

SPEAKING UP: Layla Smart,
SPEAKING UP: Layla Smart,
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FROM the mouths of babes.....

Children have been giving their parents top tips on how to make friends.

Research has found that despite small talk with strangers not coming naturally to many adults, it makes us feel better.

A survey, carried out by The Big Lunch which aims to bring communities together, also found 60 per cent of people chat to neighbours and 52 per cent go out of their way to start a conversation with their neighbour.

In a bid to find out how grown-ups can break the ice with others at such events, The Big Lunch has asked a group of Sunderland school children for their best ideas on how to make friends.

The scheme visited Hudson Road Primary School to find out why initiating social interaction is second nature to children.

The pupils were asked if they had any words of wisdom on how easy it can be to make friends that they could share.

Cathy Westgate, the school’s headteacher, said: “As a grown-up, breaking the ice can sometimes feel like a really daunting challenge.

“Here at Hudson Road Primary, we’ve seen how many of our pupils find it easy to take that first step to make friends, soon finding something in common with each other.

“When The Big Lunch asked if the schoolchildren would share their top tips, we were delighted to help.”

Experts say taking the time to speak to others can help communities in their own right, as well as wider society, and can also help combat a sense of loneliness.

Sir Tim Smit KBE, founding director of the Eden Project and co-founder of The Big Lunch, added: “This was a fun and interesting exercise for the children of Hudson Road Primary to show how easy it can be for all of us to break the ice and learn the skills of small talk.

“The school children gave us some fantastic yet simple tips such as telling a brilliant joke, asking how they are or if they would like to skip with you.

“Small talk is in fact ‘big talk’ - it’s the code or tool which enables us to overcome our shyness. This is where The Big Lunch comes in – it’s the ice-breaker that is needed to convert strangers into possible friends or acquaintances.”

The Big Lunch is expecting millions of people to take part on Sunday, June 1.

For details about holding a Big Lunch, request a free pack which includes invitations, posters, seeds, bunting template and booklet of ideas online at

TIPS to making friends from Hudson Road Primary School include:

“Invite them to a party.” – Aryan Ahmed Eluda, six.

“Sit next to them and tell them a joke.” – Layla Smart, seven.

“Say hello.” – Korren Tideswell, seven.

“You could ask them a question.” – Rio Ellis, seven.

“Ask them to join in.” – Nahida Ahmed, six.