Objective: Write and draw the things that make a good friend, and why friendship is important.
Takeaway: Good friends can help you to be your best self!
Time: 30 Minutes
Grade level: 2-3
Tags: friendship, respect, love, sharing, good friends, good habits, language arts, drawing
As the world becomes more connected through social media, it is vital to nurture the physical connection of friendships. Friendship plays an important part in a child’s social development. We can help kids understand the value of friendship and show them ways they can build friendships.
Here are five fun ways to help kids begin connecting and building friendships:
Whether it’s sharing toys or allowing friends to take turns in a conversation, it’s important to help kids understand the value in sharing. Teaching kids that sharing is far better than being alone is one step parents can take. Likewise, kids learn by example and we must constantly practice the act of sharing and caring through modeling.
Set up a make-believe scenario with your child’s favorite toy. The toy will serve as the imaginary “new” friend. Encourage your child to introduce him or herself to the toy and find out the toy’s name, favorite foods and colors, and games. Pretend play helps your child learn and what a real-life friendship is. Imaginary play also builds confidence and independence.
Get your child involved in extracurricular activities. Enroll them in sports, hobby groups or after-school activities. Extracurricular activities allow children to find friends who share similar interests. These activities can be a catalyst for building new connections.
Puzzles, coloring activities, and even music can teach friendship building skills. Kids often learn faster by modeling actions they hear and see. Our super-catchy KidNation song, “Good Friends”, teaches kids the importance of ‘homies that keep it real’. Because, isn’t that what life is about?
The Compliment Game is a game you can play to boost your child’s social skills. You and your child take turns giving each other compliments. You can commend them on “a job well done” or remind them of how kind they acted towards their friends. Acknowledging the good actions of others and showing appreciation can help start meaningful conversations.
In short, parents influence the social development of their child. Encourage your child to speak with a classmate they may not know or compliment them. Meaningful friendships keep life vibrant and fulfill our need to connect.
Valentine’s Day sometimes focuses more on gifts than it does love itself. As our young ones begin to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the classroom, make sure they understand that some of the best kinds of love aren’t always romantic (although that type of love is pretty cool, too). The love between friends, family, and self-love is just as powerful. Instead of centering romantic love this Valentine’s Day, here are a few ideas you and the kids can try instead.
A big part of love is showing your appreciation for someone and making sure it is clearly expressed to them. A great way to practice this with your kids is by having everyone in the house write “love letters”–or letters of appreciation, to family members and friends. In these letters, be specific! Use details to really express the unique things you love about someone, then pass the letters off to their recipients and watch how happy everyone involved will be.
Gift-giving is another huge way of expressing love. Set up a Secret Santa Valentine’s edition with your household, neighbors, or family friends. You can decide the price limit on gifts, or make homemade gifts. Whatever you decide, remember–the more heartfelt the gift, the better.
Fill the day with compliments to everyone in the household. Everybody loves compliments, but more importantly, everyone needs compliments. It is super necessary that kids be complimented so they can develop a strong sense of self, but it’s also important that they are able to give compliments and develop meaningful connections with others.
These are just a few things you can do to help expand your children’s idea of love this Valentine’s Day. In the process, you might even expand your own.