5 Tips for Teaching Your Preschooler How to Be a Good Friend

friendship
Image via Mindi Stavish

Initiating and developing friendships are vital life skills. As a parent, it is important to teach your child how to nurture a friendship. Even during the preschool years, there are certain steps you can take to see that they are on the right path to learning about friendship. Here are just a few ways you can help them become a good friend.

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Build Up Their Self-Esteem

Individuals with high self-esteems are able to make and maintain true friendships easier than those with a low self-esteem. If you help build your child's self-esteem you will help them avoid dangerous friendships that bring them down. A child with a high self-esteem will expect their friends to be trustworthy and nurturing. They will seek out relationships that nurture their inner being.

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Be a Good Friend Role Model

Since children learn from watching others, you are your child's best role model when it comes to friendship. Spend time with your friends around your children to allow them to see how you treat your friends. Nurture your friendships around them. I have several mom friends my age that have kids, so it's easy for us to nurture these friendships while our children are nearby. So, as hard as it is to make adult friends, mom friendships are not only important to your sanity but are also an important lesson to your child. 

{ MORE: 10 Rules for Making Mom Friends: How Not to be a Mom Group A**hole }

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Give Your Child Insight

Help your child see when she or he is using skills that develop a friendship by commenting on these specifically. For an example, if your child offers his brother his jacket because he is cold, be sure to tell him that it was a kind gesture that shows he cares.

 

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Friendship Traits

It's never too early to start talking to your child about good and bad traits of a friend. Using age-appropriate language, you can start teaching your child about being honest and a good listener. After all, these are traits you are instilling in your child already. It is helpful to mention to your child how actions help build a friendship.

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Books About Friendship

One of my favorite ways to teach my child about human kindness and friendship is through shared book reading. Books are a great way to open an age-appropriate conversation about friendship. My favorite books about friendship for preschoolers are I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems, Big Dog and Little Dog, by P.D. Eastman, and the classic Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel.

{ MORE: Talking the Joy - and Pain - of Motherhood with IMomSoHard }

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5 Tips for Teaching Your Preschooler How to Be a Good Friend

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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