1. Teach your child to be a friend.
Repeat these rules often:
- Be Kind – (Smile. Use good manners with words like “please”, “thank you”, “your welcome” and “excuse me.” Listen to understand others.
- Be respectful to others – Don’t use hurtful works or tease others. Don’t kick, bite or push others. Include others by not leaving them out when you play.
- Be respectful to others things – Treat others personal belongings with respect by not touching them without asking permission or not throwing or breaking them.
2. Be a positive role model, ask people that care for your child to reinforce the rules of “How to Be a Good Friend” and acknowledge your child for getting along peacefully with others.
- Be a good example by being kind to your own friends.
- Manage your own anger and peacefully work out conflicts.
- Maintain a close relationship with anyone who cares for your child.
- Reinforce positive behaviors whenever you observe your child being kind and respectful to others. (Example: “I noticed that you were very cooperative today.”)
3. Teach your child to share – Know what to expect:
- Most 2 year olds don’t share well.
- At age 3, children can begin to learn how to share and work out conflicts.
- Most children are not able to share well or work out conflicts until they are at least 4 or 5 years old.
- When observing your child at play with others, suggest that they take turns playing a game or toy.
- Talk about how to ask for a toy.
- Provide extra toys to share.
- Tell your child it’s not OK to grab or hit.
4. Teach your child to work things out
- Let children first try to work out their own conflicts without adult help.
- Ask questions and suggest what to do when you see that they may need assistance.
- Step in if children start to hit or say hurtful words.
- Tell your child what’s not OK and why: “Don’t hit. Hitting hurts.”
5. Help your child to make friends. Some children make friends easily. Others find it harder. Your child may need additional help. Tell your child:
- It’s easier to play with one other child than with a group.
- Look for a child playing alone and ask to join in.
6. Support your child’s friendships.
- Stay involved. Know who your child’s friends are.
- Make time for your child to be with friends.
- Invite your child’s friend to your home. Invite children who are your child’s age or older. Limit the play to no more than 2 hours. Be sure your child is rested and fed. (A child who is tired or hungry may find it hard to play cooperatively). Be close by while the children play and make sure there are appropriate choices of things for them to do.