Free excerpt from Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends, by psychologist and children’s friendships expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting and health writer Christine McLaughlin.
Sometimes kids don’t want to greet others because they worry that they won’t get a response. They’re afraid of feeling foolish or getting rejected and being embarrassed. But you’ll stand out more if you don’t greet people.
You don’t have to be best friends with people to greet them. You just have to know them a little bit and think they’re nice. A friendly greeting takes only a few seconds but it goes a long way toward setting a positive tone and showing other kids that you’re interested in being friends.
What happens after “Hi!”? Keep doing friendly things to show that you like them. You can do these right after the greeting or later. Here are some ideas you can try:
1. Ask interested questions.
Asking questions shows someone you want to know more about them. The best questions to ask begin with what or how because they tend to get longer answers that can lead to a conversation. One or two questions is usually enough at one time. More than that gets annoying. You don’t want to turn the conversation into an interview!
Avoid asking why questions because they can sound mean. It can seem like you’re asking, “Why did you do such a dumb thing?!” even when you’re not.
2. Give an honest compliment.
It feels good to get a compliment, and we tend to like people who notice and appreciate our good qualities. Keep your eyes open for ways that you can compliment other kids. Compliments don’t have to be long or complicated, but they must be honest. If someone gives you a compliment, be sure to smile and say, “Thanks!”
3. Do a small act of kindness.
Being kind is a great way to start a friendship. An act of small kindness tells kids that you like them and it makes you feel good. Be careful not to give away money or favorite things of yours. If the act of kindness is too big, the other kids might feel pressured, and you might feel bad if they don’t return the favor.
Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
From psychologist and children’s friendships expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting and health writer Christine McLaughlin comes a social development primer that gives kids the answers they need to make and keep friends.
Friendship is complicated for kids. Almost every child struggles socially at some time, in some way. Having an argument with a friend, getting teased, or even trying to find a buddy in a new classroom…although these are typical problems, they can be very painful. And friendships are never about just one thing.
With research-based practical solutions and plenty of true-to-life examples—presented in more than 200 lighthearted cartoons— Growing Friendships is a toolkit for both girls and boys as they make sense of the social order around them.
Children everywhere want to fit in with a group, resist peer pressure, and be good sports—but even the most socially adept children struggle at times. But after reading this highly illustrated guide on their own or with a caring adult, kids everywhere will be well equipped to face any friendship challenges that come their way.
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