As much as you love and demonstrate that love to your children from the minute they are born, understanding the concept of loving others can be difficult for young children to grasp. You can teach and reinforce lessons on love to your child by engaging her in activities that promote loving others through kindness and friendship.
Read books with your child that emphasize love through friendship. For example, for kids ages 4 and older, the book "You: A Story of Love and Friendship," by Stephen Michael King, uses simple prose to inspire children to show love toward each other 1. If you want to instill the message of loving each other from a biblical point of view, check out, "Loving One Another: Beginner's Stories About Being a Good Friend," by Neta Jackson, also for ages 4 and older 2. The book features stories from a Christian perspective on loving one another, including Bible verses.
Crafting with Love
Encourage your child to show love to a friend by making a craft for her. One idea is to make a beaded friendship bracelet. Have your child use beads that are in her friend's favorite colors. She can also make a matching bracelet for her friend. Another idea is to make a friendship blossom flower to representing a new, blossoming friendship. Help your child to cut out flower petal shapes out of colored card stock. Poke a hole in the center and stick a small lollipop into the center. Your child can write a note on the petals for her friend as well.
Loving the Community
Show your child that loving others can also mean showing love and compassion for the less fortunate in your community. Find an age-appropriate volunteer opportunity where you and your child can give back to the community in some way or the other. Ideas include serving meals at a soup kitchen, sorting cans at a food back , organizing a winter coat drive, or collecting toys for children that are stuck in the hospital on Christmas. Talk to your child about how it feels to be show kindness and love to those who really need it.
Engage your child and her friend in interactive games that also reinforce the importance of friendship and love. For one game, have the kids sit in a circle and give each child a pencil and a piece of paper. They must write down 10 kind things about the person to their right as fast as they can. The person who finishes first gets to go first, but they all get to read their list and give their paper to that person. For another game, take the kids outside in a large space. Two kids are the "friendship stealers," and the others are on one side of a field and must run to the other side to safety without getting tagged by the friendship stealers. If any child gets tagged, they must remain frozen until a teammate tags them. The kids cannot get on safety without everyone, reminding them to never leave a friend or someone you love behind.
- You: A Story of Love and Friendship; Stephen Michael King
- Loving One Another: Beginner's Stories About Being a Good Friend; Neta Jackson
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