How to Teach Friendship Skills to Elementary Students in 2023

If you are an elementary teacher looking to learn how to help your students develop friendship skills, then you found the right place! Friendship skills help students develop and maintain collaborative friendships. Students who can maintain friendships have better social intelligence than students who cannot. In this post, we’ll go into detail about what friendship skills are and why they are important. In addition, we’ll share tips and ideas for how to teach friendship skills in an elementary classroom setting. Read all about helping students develop friendship skills in and out of the classroom below!

What Do Friendship Skills Mean?

Friendship skills are the skills that help students initiate friendships and maintain collaborative friendships where each person is treated fairly. Some examples of collaborative friendships are friendships that allow each person to share feedback and be comfortable and positively respond to it. Collaborative friendships are also friendships where people can compromise and negotiate activities and issues. 

Why is it Important for Kids to Learn Friendship Skills?

It is important for kids to learn friendship skills because they will encounter many different friends and people throughout their time in and out of school. It is also important for students to learn the difference between a healthy and unhealthy friendship, which can be determined through learning collaborative friendship skills. 

How Do I Know If I Need to Teach Friendship Skills in My Classroom?

The students in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom would benefit from friendship lessons and activities if any of these statements are true:

  • Students struggle to maintain multiple friends
  • Students are frequently getting into conflicts with their friends
  • You find that students are having trouble making friends
  • Your class struggles with moving forward in friendships after an argument
  • You find yourself solving conflicts between friends 

5 Reasons To Promote Friendship Skills In Your Elementary Classroom

Below are 5 reasons to promote friendship skills  in your elementary classroom.

1. It will create a stronger classroom environment

Your students having friendship skills will help your classroom environment grow. They will learn important skills related to friendship like inclusivity, communication and compromise. They will be ready to use their new skills to create a welcoming environment. 

2. Students will have an easier time making friends 

Naturally, when students learn friendship skills they will have an easier time making friends. They will learn how to initiate a friendship and the importance of welcoming others into a friendship. 

3. Students will gain a better tolerance for each other 

Students with friendship skills gain a better tolerance for others because they learn what makes a good friend and how to be an understanding friend. They can use this understanding to have empathy for each other and think about how other people want to be treated in the classroom and in a friendship. 

4. Students will learn to compromise 

Students who have friendship skills learn the art of compromising. Compromising comes naturally in a healthy friendship. This can look like deciding what game to play, deciding who gets to go first or who will take the lead.  

5. Students will develop communication skills 

Communication is essential in friendships. While learning friendship skills, students will learn the importance of communicating with their friends when they are upset or have ideas or something important to share. Communication is natural in a healthy friendship. These skills will come with learning friendship skills. 

5 Tips and Ideas for Teaching Friendship Skills 

1. Read Aloud Picture Books about Friendship Skills 

Picture books are a great way to introduce and teach an SEL topic. It gets students thinking about the topic and activating their background knowledge. Check out this list of picture books for teaching friendship skills!

2. Watch Videos about Friendship Skills 

There are tons of free online videos out there that promote social emotional learning. It’s a fun and engaging way to teach SEL skills that your students will enjoy. Check out these videos for teaching friendship skills!

Vocabulary words can help students develop understanding of friendship skills and create connections through related words. Our friendship skills SEL unit includes ten vocabulary cards with words related to the SEL topic. It is important for students to be able to see, hear, and use relevant vocabulary while learning. One idea for how to use them is to create an SEL word wall as students learn the words.

4. Provide Practice Opportunities

When learning any skill, students need time to practice. Social emotional learning skills are no different! Our friendship skills SEL unit includes scenario cards, discussion cards, choice boards, games, and much more. These provide students with opportunities to practice the skills independently, with partners or small groups, or as a whole class.

5. Integrate Other Content Areas

Integrating other content areas with this topic is a great way to approach this SEL topic. Our friendship skills SEL unit includes reading, writing, and art activities.

Friendship SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle

In closing, we hope you found this information about how to teach friendship skills helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts.

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