Childhood is about making connections and learning. Children learn through play and it's important that they have other children in their life to play with. Whether it's siblings, school friends, neighbors or cousins, it's important to teach our children how to be a good friend.
The first step to having good friends is learning how to be a good friend.
How do you teach your child to be a good friend?
My older daughter is the opposite of shy. She will run up to any new child she meets and they are instantly her new best friend. Although my younger daughter is only one, I can already tell she will be the shy sister.
Since my older daughter jumps into being best buddies with other kids so quickly, I need to teach her the subtleties of how to be a good friend. How to empathize with other children and imagine how they are thinking and feeling.
Advice and Stories from Real Moms
Take something to share with friends
We've been teaching our three-year-old about sharing with friends. Recently, we have started taking small "gifts" such as a sticker pack or bouncy balls when we're out with friends so that our son can share them with their kids. It has helped a lot, because as an only child, he really doesn't have to share much. - Donella from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops
Tell them when they are being a good friend
I try to point out when they are being a good friend or when someone else is being a good friend. - Brittany from Pennies Into Pearls
Teach them that some "friends" aren't really friends
My oldest daughter has had issues with friends in the past. Friends who have treated her family with disrespect, friends who have tried to steal her boyfriends and so much more. I always tell her that friends come and go, but the ones who respect you and want to truly be your friends are the ones who treat you the way they want to be treated and that she should always do the same thing. Respect and trust are earned and she shouldn't give them away before their earned. - Vina Kent from The Full Time Schoolhouse
Find someone with a good heart
To be a good friend they need to choose their friends wisely. They will only want to be a good friend to someone they genuinely care about. It's not about popularity or who has the nicest stuff. If they find someone who has a good heart, being a good friend will come easy. It's all about being there and never going back on their word. Good friends are hard to come by...so I want them to know to hold that close! - Dana from Momma Didn't Say
Ask them lots of questions
This is such a difficult thing to teach because we want our children to learn how to function within their peer groups without us hovering, but we also want to teach them this important life skill. We are in the depths of teaching this right now with our 6 year old daughter. Believe it or not there is girl drama as early as 1st grade! We stress that to have friends she must first be a good friend to others by showing kindness and not excluding others. I try to ask LOTS and LOTS of questions like, “How did that make you feel when she did/said that?” “How do you think that made her feel?” “What can you say/do next time that situation happens?” I believe by doing this it has validated my daughter’s feelings and taught her the words for what she and others in the situation are feeling. - Sammi from Grounded & Surrounded
Teach them by sharing your own friendships
I share with them sweet or helpful things friends have done for me and let them know how it really makes me appreciate my friend's friendship. - Lauren from Mom Home Guide
Give them time to play
We teach them to be friends by giving them time to play. They always seem to be better together when mom is not hovering around making sure "this or that" does not happen.- Tahnee from Sincerely Rose
Encourage them to go play with new friends
I encourage my children to look around them and be aware of how others are feeling. If they see someone who is playing by themselves, I encourage them to go over and ask that person to play. Kids are inherently self-centered, but with the right coaching they can become aware of how their actions impact others. - Sarah from Grounded and Surrounded, the YouTube Channel
Role play with them about their friends feelings
By role playing. My kids are still young so it's up to me to teach them how to behave. I remind them to think about their friends feelings. - Tasia from Batavia's Best Bargains
Instruct in the moment
I've had a few conversations with my 3 year old. Mostly, I instruct him in the moment, sort of like feeding him lines off stage. I think he is beginning to understand. He's walked up to a few of his friends at school, unprompted, and offered comfort when they are crying or invited them to play. - Marie from MarieOsborne.com
Thank you Moms!
Friendship is so important for young children to learn and grow, but also as older children and adults interacting in society. The key is to be mindful and aware of our children's relationships and actively teach them how to express themselves around others.
Are your kids shy or outgoing around other kids? Let us know how you teach your child to be a good friend in the comments.
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