When I came to this series on kid friendships, I asked myself these questions:
“What do I want my kids to know about godly friendship?”
“What can I do to help set them up to have healthy friendships with their peers?”
“How do I help them wrestle with the hard reality of relationships—the brokenness that causes hurt and pain?”
From my personal experience, friendships are everything. The people we surround ourselves with directly instruct and mold who we become, what we think about, and what we choose to do with our time. Kid friendships need cultivating.
Child psychologist Dr. Michelle Borba says, “Like most skills, the skills of friendship are refined through trial and error. So, the more opportunities kids have to try out what works with others and what doesn’t, the greater likelihood social competence will develop.”
This is where you come in! You have the opportunity today to help your kids—whether they are super friendly or painfully shy—how to be a good friend.
Thus, I landed on four big principles that I believe are a great foundation for any kid to understand how to be a good friend! I am taking foundations of adult friendships and translating them to fit our kids. My oldest is only four years old, so concepts have to be fairly simple. I’ve also included coloring sheets you can download for FREE. (link at the bottom). So, as you talk through these ideas with your kids, they can color away. You can make these principles fit your personality and your kid’s developmental progress. I’ll provide examples of how my husband and I teach these concepts and help our son act on them, but you have the creativity as the parent to do what serves your kid best.
Here below are the four principles to begin navigating heathy friendships for your kids! This is certainly not an exhaustive list! You can click on any of them to take you straight to that particular article. Come back here when you are ready for more!
- Sharing is Caring: How to nurture generous kids
- Be Yourself: 5 ways to support your kids as they make new friends
- Give R-E-S-P-E-C-T: How to raise kind kids by modeling the golden rule
- Your Words Matter: Why kids need to know the impact of their words
P.S. If you, like me, have a lot of fear about the rejection, the hurt words and the inevitable pain that will befall our children as they make friends…I want you to start by taking a deep breath. Remember that God loves your kiddo even more than you do. He has also placed you in their life to be a positive voice of truth and love. You are a safe place to fall when they have questions or feel left out and lonely. I wish I had a foolproof way to get our kids perfect friends but let’s just remember how far from perfect our own kids will be at being a friend. Remind them of their first friend—Jesus—and allow his example to draw the dark moments in their life back to him.
Fun-Size Friendships Coloring Sheets
Subscribers of my Newsletter can download four Fun-Size Friendships coloring pages for their kiddos. These coloring pages are a fun collaboration between myself and Mary Clarke Photo & Design. No judgement if you print two copies of each so that you can do one…