Teaching your child how to nurture and maintain friendships

Behavior Modification Tips and Strategies

For some children and adults, making friends comes naturally. This isn’t always the case for our children. Fortunately, making friends can be modeled. Has your child ever come home from school and said, “I don’t have any friends to play with,” or “I don’t want to play with so-and-so because…” Even if this hasn’t happened to your child, it never hurts to discuss different ways your child can be a good friend or make new friends.

Today, a student said to me, “Miss Sullivan, I have a riddle for you: What is worth more than gold, but doesn’t cost anything?” I blurted out a random guess, but was completely stumped. The answer: “A friend.” What sweet words from a kindergartner! I thought to myself about how true this statement is and how easy it is to take making and keeping friendships for granted.

Teaching your child about friendship can be a fun bonding experience. Try brainstorming some friendship words together on paper. Examples: help each other, play together, kind, smile, and share. Make a list of things that would not help your child make friends. You may want to have your child illustrate pictures that depict the meaning of friendship. Tell your child stories about your own childhood friendships, problems between friends, and how you solved them. Talk to your child about who his/her friends are at school and offer suggestions for keeping friendships strong. Get in touch with other parents in your child’s class and set up play dates. These are just a few ideas that can help your child learn about friendship.

If you haven’t already, get the conversation rolling and use this opportunity to help your child be a better friend. Teaching your child to be a friend is worth more than gold.

*”Lineup 2” image courtesy of Joe Goldberg / flickr creative commons

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