Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making Friends: Books to Read

Such a big part of the early years is moving beyond the world of self into the world of friends. Just as we learn many other concepts, our young ones need "friend behavior" modeled and practiced to get started.

Make time for interaction with other children - get out, go for walks, stop and check out areas where your children might spend some unstructured time with others. It doesn't have to be a special dance or sport or art class - although these can be great fun, too! The important thing is that your child gets a chance to mingle and learn what is expected behavior with friends and what isn't! Practice makes …
well, maybe not perfect, but better :)

As another strategy, read to your child from consciously selected books about friendship. There are so many wonderful books that allow children to see characters whose feelings mirror their own, giving them voice. For little ones, the Rainbow Fish books by Marcus Pfister are great, as are the Bear books by Karma Wilson. They have simple language and engaging illustrations, just right for teaching things like sharing, making friends and caring for our friends.

For older children, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a personal favorite. Children can see what bullying behavior looks like and sounds like, and will vow never to be like that! Chester's Way, another Henkes story, is also fantastic for friendship themes like taking turns and having more than one friend.

For a comprehensive list of books on making friends, click on:
http://www.naeyc.org/files/tyc/file/Children's%20books%20on%20friendship.pdf

Reading about these themes opens the door for discussion - never let an opportunity get away to help your child develop these much needed social skills.

Above all, have fun with it!

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