Grade Levels: K-3

When children begin school or enter a new class, they may become nervous about making friends. Assure your children that everyone needs friends and making friends is easy. However, friendships take work to maintain and require honesty and respect.

Remind your children that a friend is someone you know and like. A friend is someone you trust and depend on for help. A friend might make you feel better when you are sad, be happy for you when something good happens, or help you learn something new. Friends can also make activities more enjoyable. They can play games together, go on adventures together, laugh and tell secrets together, undertake projects together, or simply sit and talk.

Explain that a friend can be a person from the same club, team, class, or school. We recommend watching the School movie together as a review. Friends can live in different cities or countries, come from different cultures, and belong to different religions. Friends can be both boys and girls and they can be older or younger. Family members like grandparents and siblings can be friends, too. Your children should understand that friendships take work and that he or she can learn how to be a good friend. This means being kind, helping friends when they are in need, and sticking by their side during rough times. Being a good friend means not leaving them out of plans and solving problems by compromising, sharing, and taking turns. Being a good friend means considering the other person’s feelings and treating others the way they would like to be treated.

There are many ways to make friends. Your children should understand that the easiest way to make friends is simply to talk to people. They can introduce themselves and strike up a conversation. Assure them it’s O.K. to feel shy, but making friends is easy. You can make friends by teaching or learning how to do something, by inviting people to play games or do activities together, and making people feel like they belong. Have your children imagine what it’s like to start a new class or school without knowing anyone. How might they feel? Encourage them to make friends with new students or make everyone feel welcome.

Friends can be different from each other. Your children might think that changing himself or herself will make other people like him or her better, but in fact, differences between people can make friendships very special. Occasionally, differences can lead to arguments. Explain that it’s perfectly natural to disagree with friends. Getting into a disagreement does not mean the friendship has to end; friends can resolve problems by apologizing and learning ways to avoid fighting in the future. Often during arguments, people say what they do not mean. Friends should apologize and communicate with each other. This can be done verbally or even through a letter. Remind your children the importance of being honest and sharing their thoughts and feelings with their friends.

Friendships take work to maintain. Your child should understand that having friends can help him or her understand people better and treat everyone better. Friendship is a skill that children must learn just as they learn any other skill.

Filed as:  Friends, Health, K-3, Relationships
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