3 Ways to Encourage Kids Friendships

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Recently, I was having a conversation with my two older kids about my friendships. My daughter asked me about my friends when I was her age and that made me think about my the quality of my childhood friendships. As a child, I loved drawing and I remember having a hard time with friends who would rather spend recess outside playing than inside drawing with me. At that age, I was really bothered by that and there were so many times that I wished that my friends were just like me so I wouldn’t be alone. I didn’t embrace our differences. I shared this with the kids because I want them to have wonderful friendships and I understand that they need learn to be good friends from childhood. I don’t want them to think that their friends must look, behave or have all the exact interests that they do. Actually, I want them to see the beauty in differences and to seek them out.

encourage kids friendships

At their age, I know that books are best to convey this message. Fortunately, earlier this month, we were sent Mo Willems new book Sam, the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World which was released on September 5th, 2017  and Leonardo, the Terrible Monster the first book in the series. Here are 3 ways I encourage my kids to make new friends reinforcing my advice with both books:

encourage kids friendships

  1. Stress the importance of being themselves.

When we read the first book in the series Leonardo, the Terrible Monster for the first time, we all laughed at the fact that Leonardo was an awful monster because couldn’t scare anyone, not even the most scaredy-cat kid in the world (a kid named Sam). Leonardo didn’t stop trying to scare everyone though, he was determined until he realized that he wasn’t meant to be a scary monster but instead a wonderful friend to Sam.  I’m happy that the book showed the kids how frustrating it was for Leonardo to be a scary monster because that just isn’t who he is.

encourage kids friendships

  1. Teach them how to push past fear to get to know other kids.

 

My kids have really different personalities, my daughter loves meeting new friends while my son can be a little fearful of introducing himself to new kids. I’ve been encouraging him to push past that fear. I’m happy that in the new book Sam, the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World he saw a friendship blossom that started with fear. Sam and another kid, Kerry, were scared of each other but soon discovered that they had a lot in common and became good friends.  Using our Leonardo the Terrible Monster puppet I pretended to be a new friend and had the kids introduce themselves to me to get them accustomed to approaching other kids.

encourage kids friendships

  1. Show them that even with different interests they can still be friends with others.

We all have very different interests and that’s what makes our relationships more interesting. Thanks to the Sam, the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World book, the kids got to see that with Sam and Kerry. They had many things in common but they also had some major differences. Friends do not need to be carbon copies of each other, as a matter of fact, it’s their differences that make the friendships richer.

encourage kids friendships

I love how much joy my little ones friendships bring them and I want them to continue experiencing that feeling not just with their current friends but also with the new friends they will make as they grow up. My hope is that these lessons they learn as kids from these children’s books would stay with them forever.

encourage kids friendships

How do you encourage your kids to make new friends?

 

 

 

 

 

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