Now that we’re more established in the school year, your kids are getting to know their classmates better! Hopefully they’ve made some great new friends, but they might also be encountering different personality types or students who are different than they are. I am passionate about teaching my sons, Brad and Toby, about having kindness towards the other children they meet at school. Below are a couple things we try to do at home that make a difference:
COMMUNICATE WITH TEACHERS
Stay on top of class newsletters and other communications from teachers so you know if there are new children in the classroom. Encourage your kids to sit with their new classmates and invite them to play at recess. Follow up with them after school and see how it went! Moving into a new school or classroom can be super scary for a little one and having a friendly face makes all the difference. As a parent you can set a good example here, too. Befriend new parents you see at school pickup, set up playdates, and talk to your kids about how exciting it is to make a new friend!
START WITH A BOOK
Read books that include children who are different than them: differently abled, different colors of skin, different backgrounds or home lives. Your local librarian is an awesome resource for this! Knowing stories about these children and families will help your kids feel connected and informed and more willing to befriend all types of classmates at school.
WATCH THE LANGUAGE AT HOME
The way you talk to your kids at home has a huge impact on the way they interact with others out in the wild. I make sure to call my boys out if they’re speaking unkindly about someone and try to teach them how their words have the power to change someone’s day (for better or for worse!). Sometimes we even role play at home if I know they’re encountering a tricky situation at school! I’ll pretend to be a friend who’s upset them, and they get to practice ways to approach the situation in a safe environment.
The mere fact that you’re motivated to help your kids approach their classmates with kindness will go a long way! When they can see this is something you care about, it will spark their curiosity. In no time at all, they’ll befriend every other kid in their class!
Written by Nancy Yen of OmieLife.
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