A new survey has found that the average US child has less than a handful of friends. Friendships and relationships play a critical role in child development, and a lot of adults are either still friends with some people from childhood, or they can think back fondly of the friends they did have who they have lost touch with.

Parents may be concerned if their child doesn’t appear to have many friends. They may worry that their child doesn’t have anyone to play with, that there is some reason no other child “likes” their child, or even if this means their child is being bullied. Moms also know that friends can influence their children, and they want to make sure they are hanging out with the right kinds of kids.

According to Study Finds, a new survey has found that the average child in the US, under the age of 6, only has 4 friends. This was shown through a poll of 2,000 parents, and it was completed by OnePoll, on behalf of The Goddard School.

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The poll also found that 56% of parents believe that returning to school is going to help their children make more friends, and they are referring to the changes that were caused by the pandemic.

The survey also looked at the importance of school, and what they believe that their children are really learning when they are in the building, and this is what they found:

  • More than half (54%) stated that being in school is about a lot more than learning new things
  • Half (50%) stated that a big part of school is about making friends and connections
  • 48% said that school is a place to learn crucial new social-emotional skills, and this was particularly important for those who seem to struggle with daily challenges.

The poll also looked at the impact the pandemic had on their children, and 61% said that they believe the pandemic has put their children behind when it comes to their social skills and their emotional development. This can be concerning because 70% said that these are the most important growth areas for their child.

Before the pandemic, more than half of parents (55%) said that their children were engaged in social activities, three to six times a week, and this changed when the pandemic started. During the pandemic, the percentage dropped to 44%, and 11% of parents said that their children were not in any activities at all. It is clear everyone has a bit of catching up to do.

Sources: Study Finds, OnePoll, The Goddard School