Dear Berry Patch Families,
This month’s focus for Parent and Family Education is the topic of FRIENDSHIP. Most of the conversations I’ve had with parents in the last 18 months have centered on social emotional skill building and getting along with others. The pandemic has isolated our kids from the normal activities of childhood. As a result, they haven’t had the experiences needed to learn to socialize well.
Making and keeping friends is an ongoing skill. Practice is necessary! The Berry Patch staff assist your children daily in friendship building skills. Kindness, polite behavior, and respect are all rolled into everyday lessons. The Berry Patch School’s Parent Tip Sheets are helpful resources for your family. Download the tip sheets: Social Emotional Learning, Communicating Well with Young Children, and The Power of Play for additional tips and strategies.
Why are friendships beneficial for adults and kids? To begin, friends encourage healthy behaviors. There are fewer cardiovascular, immune, and stress related health issues when we have relationships with others that foster self-care and happiness. Friends boost our self-esteem too. They are by our side, cheering us on in the happy times and supporting us when life can be difficult.
Our friendships are different than in the past because of changes in society. The Internet, work hours, transient culture, and even our “can-do” attitude can isolate us. It’s important to be intentional by initiating new friendships and making time to strengthen existing connections. Find ways to connect, outside of social media, with your family and friends.
Your children will benefit from your friendships. You are their model for social skills as they watch you relate to others. Children observe the way you interact, from the cashier at the grocery store to your spouse. Be intentional in your interactions with everyone.
Children also learn relationship-building skills by playing with you and others. “Taking time to play with our kids is a great way to learn how to be a good friend. Modeling kind interactions, sharing, taking turns, and being playful gives our children the social tools they need to make and be a friend.”1 Friendships and playtime are good for all of us!
A friend loves at all times…
Becky Danielson, M.Ed.
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Connect with others at a class! Edina Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) is offering virtual classes on a variety of topics beginning on February 9. Click HERE for more information and registration.
1. Raising Little Kids with Big Love Wildenberg & Danielson, p. 61.