Games that Promote Healthy Friendships for Kids
A healthy friendship is essential for a well balance life and feeling part of the community.
A healthy friendship is essential for a well balance life and feeling part of the community. Our friends will be there for us to teach us to be better, help us when we go through hard time and share our happiness! A good friend will make our sorrows half and will multiply our happiness. As parents we need to give a little push to our little ones to go out and make friends. It is also extremely easy for all parents to fall into the routine and have a hard time to be creative and think of such activities.
We would like to suggest a few activities that have worked for us and our children.
Ask your Children
Ask your children who they like to play with and why they chose that person. This will give you a better understanding on what your children look for in other children. It is also a wonderful conversation to have with them, full of opportunities to point out a few qualities they need to look for in good friends.
The random match game
When you find yourselves in a place with a lot of children, such as parties or the park do the following:
Place a lot of numbers in a bowl. For example 2 numbers 1, 2 number 2, 2 number 3 and so on. (Adjust to the number of kids). Ask children to pick numbers and then pair them up with the other child holding the same number. Then ask them to spend some time together playing a strategic game or getting to know each other by suggesting some questions they need to ask each other such as:
Do you have any siblings?
What is your favourite toy?
What do you like the most at school?
This will help them get out of the comfort zone, speak to children they are not usually gravitated to, and hopefully create a baseline where a friendship can develop in the future.
Share your story
Create a circle with all the little ones and act as the moderator. Each kid gets their 3 minutes to share some information about themselves. You are a parent can share some information first to demonstrate how it is done. Children, although shy for the most part, love to share information about their lives if they are given a structure environment that is fun and encouraging.
You can take it a step further and encourage a few questions that kids can ask to prompt further interaction.
It is a win all around!
Say something nice
Much like the previous game where kids get matched, go ahead and match them and ask them to say something nice about the person they are paired with. This is such a positive exercise!
It helps them learn how to compliment, and see the positive side of their friends.
This is one of my personal favourites!
The trust game
This should be done with your supervision as a parent.
In parties it is great to introduce this game. Pair children in teams where one of them is blindfolded and has to rely on his or her team to get from point A to point B.
His or her team mates can help by guiding with their words (if they are older) or by holding their hand (for younger kids)
This is another wonderful game where children sit in a circle. One by one they they take turn and sit in the middle of the circle and share something about themselves.
The kids in the circle have to raise their hand if the share the similar situation, thought, activity etc.
This helps break down barriers and get to know their friends.
This can also be a winning game, where the kid that gets the most ‘ raised hands ‘ wins a small gift or decides the next game.
Guess what I am feeling game
This Is an excellent game to begin introducing kids to body language and reading nonverbal language from their friends. It helps create empathy and emotional IQ.
Ask children to come together and you as a moderator pick one kid as a time. Give them an emotion that they have to express with no words. The other children have to guess what the emotion is.
The classic telephone game
This is so much fun!
We all played it as children and it carries many lessons!
It can help children understand the negative power of gossip and also give them great laughs!
They all sit together in a circle and it begins with a single phrase being whispered in someone ear. Then that person can whisper it to the person next to them and so on.
The key is to only whisper it ONCE!
By the time it reaches the last kid in the circle see what the phrase has become!
Let’s make a list
Ask children to write down on paper 5 things they want to have in a true friend. This will help them think and begin using their critical judgement skills. They will also understand what is important to them. Then they can all read their lists and this will allow the rest of the kids to see what everyone else is looking for.