Drama in the classroom is unavoidable when you’re a school counselor. But there are things you can do to help improve student friendships skills and keep the classroom a calm environment.
Social media has prompted a new way to make and maintain friendships. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for students to learn how to build authentic friendships face-to-face if they aren’t practicing.
Luckily, the classroom provides an opportunity for 1:1 and group relationships to grow…without separation via phone or computer screen.
And the good news is, it’s a lot easier to squeeze social-emotional learning skills into your students’ day than you might think.
These examples are simple, fun, ways to help improve student friendship skills while they’re on your watch:
Help Students Identify Desirable Friendship Traits
Using a checklist that outlines ideal traits found in those with lasting, meaningful, relationships can help students understand the traits they’d like their friends to possess. Download this free list for your students.
In other words, a checklist will help them understand the kind of friend they want, but more importantly, the kind of friend they want to be.
Teaching students that to have a good friend, they need to be one, is a fantastic way to help students develop a better understanding of their own behavior when they are with their friends.
Checklists can also help students identify behavior that is not acceptable.
For example, they may realize that someone they thought was a friend was actually more of a bully. From there, they can start to make changes and select positive relationships rather than destructive ones.
Use Quotes to Spark Discussions about Healthy Friendships
You can learn a lot from a well worded quote. Use quotes as learning prompts to discuss what it takes to have a healthy friendship. You can find famous quotes about friendship throughout the ages. Download these free posters you can use to start having meaningful talks with your students today.
Improve Student Friendship Skills With Role Play
Create activities centered around “role-playing,” or acting, with the moral of the story focusing on kindness, empathy, forgiveness, and other valuable friendship skills.
The best part about using role-play to help improve student friendship skills is that because they are verbally repeating vocabulary that promotes kindness and relationship-building skills. This can help them retain information, and learn to use it in moments of need.
For young children, using puppets in place of acting-out a scene can also help students express themselves through different difficult situations. When using puppets, children can get a birds-eye-view of a challenging situation and speak through the puppet, perhaps feeling bolder.
Show and Tell to Improve Student Friendship Skills
If you’re teaching a young group of children, the classic game of show and tell is a perfect example of teaching basic social skills. This timeless classic nurtures your students’ ability to maintain and foster healthy friendships.
And while show and tell’s true purpose has gotten lost over the years, there’s no denying that it does a fantastic job of teaching students to take turns.
Additionally, show and tell allows students to practice listening skills, public speaking, patience, and sharing skills.
It’s a timeless classic for a reason!
Relate to Your Students
Building friendships doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Each child has their own set of personality traits that make fostering friendships different and sometimes challenging for everyone.
If you humanize yourself, as a counselor and a person, your students will learn valuable lessons from you. Remember, your students look up to you, and also see you as an authority figure. Reminding them that you’re not perfect can help them forgive their own flaws, as well as their friend’s flaws.
Consider sharing a time when you navigated a challenging situation with a friend. Then, outline and share the problem in a relatable way to your students.
Explain how you and your friend overcame the obstacles in your friendship, and are better friends than before.
Moreover, sharing your experiences with your students teaches them that friendships aren’t always perfect, but with a little work, patience, and understanding, they can last.