It is time for a new school year. Whether your child is just entering Kindergarten for the first time or is returning back to school, learning these 9 vital lessons will help them immensely when interacting with their peers. These are the 9 things every child should learn in order to help them become kinder and more supportive friends.
1) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPLAINING AND ADVOCATING
Explain to your children that there will be times when they will need to stand up for themselves but it is important to do it in a constructive way. One of the main differences between complaining and advocating is the presence of a solution. Teach your children to not only spot injustices, but to also work hard to come up with solutions to fix the problem. Make sure that they understand that complaining is stating that something isn’t fair while advocating is recognizing that something isn’t fair and then offering a way to reconcile the situation.
2) HOW TO APOLOGIZE
No matter how kind, smart, or sweet your child is, they will make mistakes. It is vital that your child learns that an apology is necessary even if the hurt was unintentional. Teach your child that after the situation has been resolved, they can apology with 2 easy steps:
Step 1: Admit to wrong doing.
This is a part of apologizing that even adults have trouble with. Let’s say for example: Your child says something that hurts another person’s feeling. However, your child wasn’t trying to be hurtful and had no mal-intent. Often the common first reaction of the offender would be to explain away the situation and refuse to take blame for the misunderstanding. If your child truly wants to apologize then teach them to accept responsibility for their role in the event. Instead of saying “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings” say “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings”
Step 2: Offer a solution for the future
End by making it clear that you will try to do better in the future.
Example: “I won’t use that phase again.” Or “I will try to be a better listener.” This lets the offended party know that you care enough to take their feelings into consideration when interacting with them.
3) TO ASK INSTEAD OF ASSUMING
So many misunderstandings happen because people decide to assume what is happening or what someone else is thinking instead of just asking. Teach your children to be open with their feelings and thoughts and to allow others to do the same. Teach them to ask questions when they are unsure rather than assuming.
4) HOW TO BE AN INCLUDER
Once your kids have a set group of friends, it can be difficult to feel a need to bring others into the group. However, there will always be lonely kids and while it’s not your child’s job to help them, it is a really amazing thing to do. Encourage your children to look for kids who are sitting by themselves or who they know don’t have many friends and try to include them in an activity or save a seat for them at lunch. Small gestures and acts of kindness won’t cost your child anything more than a few moments of their time but will mean so much to the child they are helping.
5) HOW TO DEAL WITH UNFAIRNESS
As much as we wish it was, life is just not always fair. Every child isn’t going to be invited to every party or always get to do what other kids are doing. Children have to learn that that is okay and a part of life. Your children have to recognize that sometimes they will get to do things that other kids won’t get to do and vice versa. They also have to know that the unfairness is not because of them and that it is not a reflection on them as individuals.
6) HOW TO RESPOND INSTEAD OF REACTING
Responding requires time. First you have to hear what the person is saying, fully digest it, and then think of how you want to respond. While reacting is primal and instinctual. Responding will help to explain a situation and solve a problem, while reacting will most likely just add tension to a problem and leave issues unresolved.
7) TO SEARCH FOR SIMILARITIES
It is human nature to seek out differences and look for an easy way to categorize objects. However, when it comes to individuals, it is important to search for similarities because differences separate us while similarities bring us together. When your children meet new peers, teach them to immediately find similarities. For instance instead of noticing they have different skin colors, try to work with your children to teach their brains to first notice that they are both girls or both have on a blue shirt. As they are getting to learn more about their new friends teach them to ask questions and seek out things they have in common. This will help your children to enter into situations looking to accept others rather than reject.
8) THAT THEIR WORDS MATTER
From a young age, kids must be aware that things they say can and will have an effect on those around them. Words are so powerful and your child must decide every day if they want to use their power for good or evil.
9) HOW TO BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS
So many things in life seem like a competition when really they’re not. Teach your children that the success of a classmate is not a failure on their part. Teach them to be genuinely happy when their friends have good fortunes and to work hard and wait patiently for their time to come.