From learning new things to having fun at recess to meeting new friends, back-to-school season is an exciting time for your kid and for you as well! During this time, your child will be able to practice some of the skills they have been practicing and learn new ones, such as kindness and acceptance, that they have been working on.
But what happens if your child doesn’t want to be friends with everyone in their class, or even with someone in their class? The good news is that they don’t have to be.
Your child can learn how to be friendly to everyone, even people they don’t have a lot of friends in common with. It is very important to be kind to others- it boosts confidence in yourself and others around you, contributes to the development of a child, and encourages others to pass the kindness on, resulting in a more positive community for everyone. Here are some tips that will help you navigate a friend situation now and throughout the remainder of the school year.
Kids that are friendly make for better friends!
Exploring Kindness And Discovering It
There are so many moments throughout the day when you can be a positive role model for your child by showing kindness and respect to them. In the course of running errands, make it a habit to smile and talk to the cashier at the grocery store, the barista at the coffee shop, and the waitstaff at the restaurant. Ask them about their day, and offer to help them if you can. You can expect your child to pick up on these interactions and will begin to realize how a smile can really make someone’s day better.
As a result, you will be able to carry it over to your own home as well. If your child shows kindness, call out what they are doing and name it for them. It is important that when they help around the house, they get specific about what they did, such as saying “Thank you for putting the dishes away, that was a big help to me,” rather than something vague like “Thank you for being a helper”. This will give them a boost while also encouraging them to continue doing what they are doing.
Encourage Kindness In The Classroom And At Home
You can encourage your child and their friends to play cooperative games with each other. These games, create an “us” problem instead of a “me” problem that everyone has to work together to solve. Take time to acknowledge kindness in books and plotlines as you read or watch movies. Try to role-play with your child if the characters get into a fight and brainstorm ways to solve the problems they are experiencing. Practicing sharing at home is also a great activity to do at home. This is a great skill to practice in preparation for playdates and going back to school.
When you pick your child up from school, use your commute time to try a new twist on “What did you do today?” by asking “How did you help someone today?” or “How were you kind to someone today?” This can be especially helpful if you’re getting one-word (or no-word) responses to “How was your day?” Ask your question at the same time each day, such as when you pick up your child, during dinner, or just before you go to bed. It is important to incorporate this into your daily practice as a family so that your child will be accustomed to having an answer every day and will be expecting it.
How To Handle Unkind Moments
Understanding emotional literacy is the first step to recognizing our feelings and implementing strategies to navigate them. Tell your child that all feelings are valid, but that there are ways to express negative and hard feelings without being unkind. Take deep breaths, stomp it out, walk away, talk to an adult, or take deep breaths to express themselves safely without harming others. Self-awareness and self-regulation can also be encouraged by creating a calm and active space.
Last but not least, show your child and yourself some grace. There are times when we must ask for forgiveness or comfort from a friend, but mistakes are part of the learning process. Children need time to learn these skills, and the more consistent and flexible you can be as a family, the more likely they will be to succeed.
A friendly child encourages others to do the same, creating a positive environment for everyone.