As kids grow, they’ll have many opportunities to make friends. Sometimes, temporary friends at the playground. Other friends will become lifelong, like a neighborhood pal, or school buddy. Still others will come in and out of their lives. As a parent, my role in helping kids make friends is one of model, guide and cheerleader.
This gift guide is dedicated to all the wonderful friends in my life. From down-the-street best friend, to across the miles college friend, to opposites-attract-and-get-married friends, to new writer friends! I am still learning how to help my children form and keep the friendships that will sustain them through the years. But here’s a few things I know about how to go about helping kids make friends.
5 Ideas for Helping Kids Make Friends
For my family, the Bible is my ultimate guide when it comes to how kids should view friendship. Biblical principles of friendship include:
- Faithfulness – loving at all times
- Respect – knowing when to speak and when to listen
- Graciousness – sticking through tough times
- Supportivenes – being the “iron sharpens iron”
I could go on but that’s another post! 🙂 Reading stories from the Bible and other books is a wonderful start to helping kids make friends!
1. Read to kids about warm and deep friendships.
Our family has read many wonderful stories and books about friends. Reading helps kids understand how to make, treat, and keep a friend. For the younger crowd: Frog and Toad comes to mind. As do Mr. Putter and Tabby. Elephant and Piggie. And now a new series by an author local to me! Rebekah Phillips, creator of Farlee and Friends, has a vision for encouraging children to be kind and compassionate.
Farlee and Friends is a lovely and heartwarming series about making friends in unlikely ways. Farlee is an Airedale Terrier who lives in the town of Debonshire, where he has many adventures.
The Friendship Promise is the first in a series of five giftable books (two have released so far!). It begins the series by telling about how friendship with Cornelius the Mouse began. Although dogs in Debonshire have always feared mice, Farlee has taken The Friendship Pledge Promise, and is determined to live up to his promise when he meets Cornelius. This new, unexpected friendship makes for a tender and delightful story kids will love to read (or have read to! Each chapter is only a 5-minute read making it perfect for bedtime!).
Plus, kids can take the Friendship Pledge Promise themselves:
Farlee and Friends continue their stories in the next four books, as well as a Christmas-themed book, The Perfect Gift. These books are just the right size for little hands. And the illustrations are darling! What’s amazing about this series is that the author is also the illustrator, making the connection between story and pictures very special indeed!
Kids will love to read about Farlee and Cornelius and all the animals of Debonshire. And they’ll love to snuggle up with them too! Several of the main characters come as plush toys kids can dress and play with!
Cornelius the Mouse is my personal favorite. The boys like him because he comes in his own home. He loves to keep his pockets full of poetry! Kinda like us! He enjoys reading his pocket-sized poetry and having tea. Also like us! So the boys and I felt an immediate connection to this character! Sit Cornelius in your lap with a cup of tea and read his tiny, heart-stirring poems.
Visit FarleeandFriends.com to find out more about Rebekah Phillips and Farlee. Or find Farlee and Friends on Amazon, as well as other fun friendship titles:
Farlee and Friends Cornelius The Mouse ~ Plush Toy with Booklet of Original Children’s PoetryFarlee and Friends ~ Deluxe Children’s Book and Toy Gift SetThe Perfect Gift – Farlee and FriendsThe Frog and Toad Collection Box SetMr. Putter & Tabby Pour the TeaShould I Share My Ice Cream?
More ways of helping kids make friends
2. Play games that encourage cooperation
In addition to reading, we’ve enjoyed introducing our children to many of our favorite board games. While we don’t mind games with points and competition, we also have taught them to enjoy cooperative games. When you’re making a new friend, beating them in a game is not the best way to begin. Playing a game where you work together to get to the end – now that is a wonderful bonding experience! Here’s a few fun cooperative board games to give your kids to help them make fast friends.
eeBoo What’s Going on Here Social Conversation Flash Cards for KidsPeaceable Kingdom Friends and Neighbors: The Helping Game Emotional Development Cooperative Game for KidsPeaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot – Cooperative Matching Game For KidsPeaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Award Winning Cooperative Game of Logic and Luck for KidsOutfoxed! Game Board GameWildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game, a cooperative board game
3. Help them make and give gifts
Kids love to make, give, keep, and carry trinkets from people in their life. Making friendship bracelets to give is always a fun craft. Or, kids might also enjoy paracord bracelets and “bro bands” for an alternative style.
Klutz Friendship Bracelets Craft KitMelissa & Doug On-the-Go Friendship Bracelets Craft Activity SetALEX Toys Guy Gear DIY Bro BandsCreativity for Kids Make Your Own Paracord WristbandsBetween Friends: Craft Projects to Share
4. Teach kids to pray for their friends
I want my kids to make Jesus their best friend, and to learn from Him how friends should act. Jesus was always caring and praying for His friends, the disciples, as well as other people He encountered.
When we pray for our friends, we develop compassion and thoughtfulness. I love the prayer cube below, as it can give kids ideas for different ways to pray for friends. They can pray in thanksgiving ], pray for guidance in making friends, pray for a friend’s struggle, health, or other needs. There’s several great ways to remember our friends in prayer and care as Jesus does with these resources.
The Adventures of Prayer Bear: 3 Volume Set: Best Friends/How to Pray/Time to PrayFriendship Prayers Prayer CubeNotes From Jesus: What Your New Best Friend Wants You to KnowPrayers to Share: 100 Empowering Notes for Kids
5. Have them make a “Good Friend” list
Create a “Best of” Best Friends list to help kids understand how to BE a good friend. And how to look for good friend qualities in other people. Direct them to friends in the Bible or classic stories to help them see what character traits and actions show friendship. Keep this list posted, or make them a mini version to keep and add to as they grow.
Use the qualities on the list to write a note telling their friend why they are a special kind of friend!
Helping kids make friends can be our most rewarding job
As a mom, it brings me so much joy to see my kids playing happily with their friends. I pray over their friends, pray my children will be good friends, and make good friends who will support them in life and faith.
Mostly, I think kids who are encouraged to be kind and friendly will make friends easily. But there’s always situations when kids are shy, or in a new place. Then, we as parents need to give them additional resources for making friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed my “gift guide” of resources for helping kids make friends.
Do you have any favorite toys, games, books, or crafts that have helped your child form solid friendships? Please share in the comments!
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