Friendship is a valuable part of human life. The bonds we choose to form with others are a precious connection that can bring us happiness, teach us life lessons, and give us comfort when life challenges us. Some of the most important friendships come in childhood as we learn about ourselves and the world around us.
Since 1998, the world has celebrated this noble human bond with the UN International Day of Friendship. After recognizing the impact that violence against one another has on the human race, especially children, the United Nations set out to promote a Culture of Peace. Knowing that attitudes and violence can often begin in childhood, the program seeks to instill values of peace and non-violence in children through education. “If children learn to live together in peace and harmony that will contribute to the strengthening of international peace and cooperation”(www.un.org).
So how do you begin to teach children about friendship?
Friendship is something children are naturally interested in – it is fun and they enjoy communicating with each other. Since you have a captive audience, teach them a few basic rules about friendship:
- Friends are kind to each other
- Friends share their toys. Teach them turn taking, trading, and sharing. Use the magic phrase, “You can have it when I’m done.”
- Friends share their friends. Remind them they can have many friends and that as they share friends, they make more friends.
- It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to play.
A few activities to use with children to promote friendship and positive relationships . . .
The Kindness Curriculum is a great resource for promoting self-confidence, acceptance, and friendship in children. If we can plant the seed of kindness now, we can grow a culture of peace for the future.
What activities or resources do you use to teach children about kindness and peace? We would love for you to share them in the comments section so others can use them too!