We all want our children to be a good friend, but how do you teach friendship? As a parent you can certainly model it by being kind to others and the way you treat your own friends.
But there are many fun ways to teach your child not only to be a good friend, but to value friendship.
Putting it down on paper
Sometime writing things out or drawing it out makes things click in place. I know for me, I often need to put things on paper to work it out in my head. For many kids this is also true. But how do you put friendship on paper?
Help your child make a list of ways to be a friend. For those younger children, talk about ways they can be a good friend. This can help them understand what it means to be a friend and to develop empathy. Have a conversation about what makes them feel good and how they can be kind to others. After making your list, talk about it.
Your child can draw pictures of what it looks like to be a friend. Friendship may look different and drawing it out can give perspective to you as to how your child sees friendship. It could be holding hands, sharing a toy or just standing next to each other. Friendship will look different to everyone, so being able to see things through your child’s eyes can help you to better teach them.
Write or draw a special note and picture for a friend. This is a great way to tell someone what their friendship means. How often, as adults, do we feel unappreciated? Wouldn’t a note from a friend lift your spirits? If we teach children to appreciate their friends, think of the positive change it will have.
Friendship is also about cooperation, learning to do things together and communication. Invite a friend over for a game day. Pick a few age appropriate games for the children to play. They will learn so many social/emotional as well as academic skills. Learning and following rules, being a good winner or loser, communication, math and so much more.
Friendship bracelets have been around forever. We’ve all had them. I think I still have a few in boxes at home. They are hard to get rid of because someone special made them. You can carry on the tradition by either have a bracelet making party with friends or make them and give them out. Children love making a nd giving gifts. Friendship bracelets will work their fine motor skills!
It is important as parents and caregivers to teach children at a young age to be a good friend. What activities have you done that helps build good friendship skills?