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Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

We'd like to welcome a new voice to the Smart Play blog: Esther Schak, an ECFE parent educator, who will be imparting some of the wisdom she has gained in her many years teaching classes for Saint Paul Public School's Early Childhood Family Education program.

Esther's posts will bring content from her classes straight to you to help you think about your interactions with your children in a new light.

Parenting for Friendship

All parents want their children to have friends. Here are some ways to help children develop friendships.

• Help build a positive self-image. Being able to reach out to others begins with a healthy self-concept. A good self-concept gives the child the confidence to try new things and meet new people.

• Provide a friendly model. “It’s Anne’s birthday; I think I’ll bake her favorite cake. “I do feel hurt that Marta and David didn’t invite us to the party.” “We’ll have to miss your game this one time. Our old neighbors are in town and we’re meeting them for dinner.”

• Provide opportunities for your child to be with other children.

• Allow your child to choose her own friends. Respect her choices even though you may not always understand them. The most important factor is that the relationships are nurturing to your child.

• Respect your child’s friendship style. Each child forms (or tries to form) friendships according to his own particular needs. Many children seem to need just one or two intimate friends, while others enjoy a large circle of friends.

• Help your child gain social skills. She needs to learn:

  • How to start playing with someone, how to become part of a group, how to handle rejections.
  • How to cooperate in pretend play, games, and choices; how to compromise.
  • How to cooperate in pretend play, games, and choices; how to compromise.
  • How to handle conflict – express feelings clearly, listen to others, and stand up for herself.

Esther Shack
Parent Educator, Saint Paul ECFE


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