Building Healthy Friendships with Peers (Elementary Aged)
Building healthy relationships is a fundamental part of growing up and having a prime social life during elementary school and beyond. Some kids will be social butterflies, while others mind me more introverted, making it harder for them to branch out and make new friends. If you child is more on the reserve side, here are some ways you, and their teachers, can help them obtain the right mindset and foster key tools to make new friends.
What You Can Do as Parents
The first thing you will want to do is focus on your child initially. After all, the way in which they speak and create relationships with others all stems from how they preserve themselves and what they believe friendship should be. In order to do that, try the following;
- Work on their self-esteem. Have them list out their unique qualities, things that make them skilled and a great person to be around. The more they love themselves, the more likely they will want to talk to others and foster relationships because they believe they can do it and deserve to.
- Set the foundation of what a good friend should be. Show them what it means to be a friend, and how someone in a friendship should act. This includes respect, communication, sharing, and being kind. It also means not losing yourself or being dependent on that person to have a good day.
- Teach them the golden rule of treating others the same way as you want to be treated. This will set the values that they would want in a friend and show them how they should treat others in a proper way.
- Talk about what a bad friend is. Discuss what they would not want in a friend and why. Doing so will plant the seed for them to not want to act that way and stay clear of kids who host those unpleasant characteristics.
How Teachers Can Help Too
In the classroom, teachers can play a large role in connecting kids as well. They can do this in numerous ways, from group projects, one on one partnering, and guiding children who may like the same hobbies to interact with each other by simply introducing them.
One cool technique that has been done in elementary schools is the mailbox concept. This is where students get to write letters to others in the class, put it in an envelope in the play mailbox for that receiving child to read. Not only could this bridge two kids to become friends, but it is a way for kids who are shy to talk to others without having to face the anxiety of face to face interaction. It also helps work on writing skills too, which is another plus to this exercise.
There are many ways you can guide your kid to be social and interact with others, in the hopes of them forming unique bonds that will help shape their social skills. They may even find a lifelong friend or two from this as well, which is always a wonderful success story. But it all starts with helping them gain confidence and learning the right way to go about it, and that is where you come in. Take on these parenting tips so you can give your little one the best stepping stones that they can take with them the rest of their life.
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