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Before becoming a good friend, kids need to have all the skills necessary to attain a meaningful relationship. Working on their character, and finding value within them, kids will be able to find and surround themselves with equally caring, and loving friends. Kids will learn that with friendship, you can always have someone to talk to, who makes you laugh, feel good about yourself, and make each day an adventure. But, in teaching kids to become good friends, parents are ultimately teaching their kids meaningful life skills that will help them become better people, and improve their quality of life.
Kids admire parents, and look to them for guidance, so explain the important role friendship has in your life, to encourage your children to make friends of their own. Inspire kids to associate friendship with positive feelings, by creating an environment that values friendship. Let them meet your friends, allowing them to see first-hand what to expect of friendship. Once kids demonstrate the desire to have friends, create events that will help them. From a young age, organize play dates, or take them to public playgrounds. Kids are naturally curious and open, so their thirst for discovery will inspire them to initiate interaction. While you will have a chance to monitor their development, address behavioral problems, and expose them to the right social values.
To teach kids to maintain meaningful friendships, and become good friends, they need to exhibit the right social values people care about. Learning to be polite, and well-mannered around others will make them become socially accepted and more likable. Being polite displays respect, and reveals how being good to others, relies on you being good to them. Exposing kids to grandparents can be a great way to learn how to respect elders. Their wealth of knowledge can also teach those polite ways of navigating different social circumstances, which they can later use during interactions with friends and peers.
Quality Communication Skills
For the most part, friendships revolve around good communication. How well children can express, and acknowledge thoughts and emotions determines how well they get along with others. Learning to listen and take turns during conversations, means they take an interest, and stay open-minded to what the other has to say. Children also need to support their friends, and use assertive communication when dealing with conflicts, instead of cruelty and violence. Together with truthfulness, this creates trust, as the foundation for a meaningful relationship. Once they achieve this, they will have a person to confide to, who makes them feel good about themselves.
Learning to be Considerate Helps Make Friends
Promoting empathy in kids will help them connect emotionally to people, and be more considerate of their feelings. They will learn to control their own emotions and help them relate to their friends. As empathy raises social awareness, kids will become more sympathetic, and learn to provide comfort. If your child shows signs of bad or abusive behavior, use positive reinforcement, and ask them how they would feel in that situation. By making them think about how their actions might affect others, they will be governed by their own conscience, and become tolerant and helpful people.
Quality Social Exposure throughout Each Day
Because today’s working parents lack the time to rely on their kids’ positive social exposure throughout the day, it may be a good idea to enroll them in professional child care centers. Taking a step back may be hard, but there is no better way to learn social skills than through experience. Structured educational programs of early learning centers, also provide a way kids can develop their skills during the entire day. While fun activities they can enjoy will allow them to pick up on like-minded kids, and make friends in no time.
Sharing Means Caring
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how well your kids value their own character that will help them find value in others. Together with the right set of social skills, you will teach them how to make friends, and steer them onto the road of social acceptance. In reaching their full potential, they will achieve meaningful relationships, become better people, and good friends for life.
What’s your best tip for making a new friend?
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate in writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”