Did you know that there is an International Friendship Day? What a great thing to celebrate! And what a wonderful topic to celebrate with our kids. Do your kids know how to make friends? Does your child know how to be a good friend?
Since International Friendship Day is coming up, this is a great time to teach our kids about how to be good friends and how to deepen the friendships they have.
You can start with learning the sign for friend!
Where did Friendship Day come from?
The idea of a Friendship Day actually began in the early 1900s, and was quickly picked up by a greeting card company. It was celebrated randomly, with the United States making it an official day in 1935, and the country of Paraguay making it an official holiday in 1958. After that, the World Friendship Crusade worked to convince the United Nations to recognize an International Friendship Day. Over the years, the holiday became more popular. In 1988, the United Nations decided that Winnie the Pooh would be the world’s Ambassador of Friendship. And finally, in 2011, the United Nations chose July 30 to be International Friendship Day.
While July 30 is the officially declared date, several countries have adopted their own days to celebrate Friendship Day. In Spain, it’s on July 20, but then Bolivia celebrates it on July 23. Then, India and the United States celebrate it on the first Sunday of August.
What should we teach our kids about friendship?
The best place to start teaching about friendship is to teach about equality and acceptance. Do you have a wide range of friends, or are you all exactly the same? Do your kids have a wide range of friends? Some of us don’t live in very diverse areas, so we have to be intentional in teaching our kids about people who are different from us.
Books can help!
One easy way to open our kids’ eyes to the diversity in the world is to use books. Real people are better, but books are a great way to introduce your child to the entire world. To find good books, simply search your library’s site for a particular country. You can narrow your search down by age group and by fiction or non-fiction books. You’ll find great resources in both fiction and non-fiction works, and you may find both really old stories and newer stories. These stories and informational books help our kids understand how things work in other parts of the world. They help to normalize other cultures, and they teach our kids that their own culture is not the highest or most important one.
One really great resource for globally minded stories is Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin. Often, when we search for these books ourselves, it can be time consuming or a hit-or-miss effort. So it’s really helpful that this book lists books by region and age group, and it summarizes each title. I actually went through this book’s recommendations with my own kids several years ago. During one summer, we covered one region of the world each week, and it was such a fun experience. My kids looked forward to each week and which part of the world we’d be reading about. And they learned so much about other cultures. Now that I’m telling you about this, I’m thinking that I need to pull that book out and go through it again!
Practical ways to be a good friend
Talk with your kids about specific ways to be a good friend. There are a lot of ways to do this, so start with sharing, giving, and listening. Have your kids think about their own friends and what is important to those friends. How can they honor what is important to their friends? What can they do to make their friends smile? How can they make their friends feel important and loved? These are wonderful discussions to have with your kids, and even really young kids can think of something they can do to be a good friend.
My Signing Time is here to help!
The idea of friendship is woven through so many of our shows! For specific resources on being a good friend, check out the Baby Signing Time episode Let’s Be Friends. You can go here to see Baby Joy Joy make new friends. Or head here to see Baby Joy Joy learn to play nicely. You can access these and many more educational shows with a My Signing Time digital subscription. To see if these or any of our other shows are right for your child, head here to our free video section. You can preview shows or even watch some full episodes!
This is a great time to get a My Signing Time annual digital subscription! Use the discount code SUMMER21 to get 10% off an annual subscription, even if you already have a subscription! This is a limited time offer, so be sure to get a new subscription or extend yours today!