PRESENTING POSITIVE FRIENDSHIPS TO YOUR CHILDREN
Practice Kindness Encourage children to engage in small acts of kindness.This may be hugging a friendwho issador lendingapencil toaclassmatewho lacksone.Kindness tends to beget kindness, which is a great way to start a friendship. That said, Psychology Today issues some warnings about being overly or inappropriately kind. When children try to buy friends through giving gifts or money, it is often not reciprocated. Instead, the receiver may lose respect for the giver if it keeps happening, as this behavior wreaks of desperation rather than kindness. For this reason, it’s important for teachers to keep an eye on how friendships are being made and for parents to be aware if money or valuable toys go missing. It’s also worth noting that kindness is defined by its impact, not its intent. Some children go overboard by being excessively affectionate or insisting that a peer only hang out with them. Neither of these are apt to go over well, and instead act as a deterrent to friendships. Build Hang Time Around an Activity The surest way to playdate failure is having bored kids. To avoid this, plan the hang time around a fun activity, such as splashing in the wading pool, making individual pizzas, or playing a board game. Bear in mind that mainstream kids will likely enjoy all of the activities that children with special needs enjoy, so this can be a win-win all the way around. In the classroom, try to ensure that all kids have a role in group work and that there isn’t too much time just spent sitting without work. As a child navigates the world of friendships and disappointments, expect the occasional heartache (for both of you). Also recognize that children have different ways of engaging, including parallel play. Realize that a child may be an introvert as well, which means that friendships are important, but so is down time.
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