Guiding children in developing positive friendship skills will help them as they progress through their school years. This includes encouraging children to define what makes a good friend - both in what to look for in a friend and how to be a good friend. It also involves teaching children good communication skills, including active listening strategies. Children that can communicate their needs and wants are more likely to get their needs met in a positive way, and may not need to explore more risky and harmful behaviors.
A positive environment will encourage children to engage with others as friends. Through hands-0n activities children:
- Use patterning to make a 'friendship necklace' with a friend
- Make a special 'friends' paper chain - each link in the chain is a friend
- Complete specific 'friendship tasks' to make a GORP-like snack
- Create a special MY FAMILY banner
Children that have a friend are less likely to engage in behaviors that put them at-risk. Learning empathy for others is one way to create an environment without bullies - something we want for all of our children.