We spend so much time in the first months of kindergarten teaching the children how to be a good friend.
We read books about friendship. We perform skits about friendship. We watch videos about friendship. And we try our hardest to show by our actions how real friends treat each other. ( No, they don't kick each other, they don't pinch each other, they don't kiss on the carpet, and they don't rip toys out of the hands of their friends with the teacher watching.)
Yesterday I was working at my center with two animated and enthusiastic girls who have become fast and furious friends. Francis and Gloria were engaged in a heated discussion, and Gloria decided it was time to tattle.
“Mrs. Smythe, Gloria took my red crayon and I really need it. I told her I was using it and she…”
“But she wasn’t using it, and I wanted to use it, and I didn’t grab it out of her hand…”
I stopped the girls, “First, ladies, I think that there are at least a hundred red crayons right here in this basket. I’m pretty sure that there are enough for everyone. Second, I thought you two were best friends. Aren’t you best friends?” I asked.
“Well, yes, we are best friends, but…” Francis stopped.
And I added, “Best friends might not get along all the time, but best friends do talk to each other about problems they might be having. They use nice words, they use direct messages, and they listen to each other. Can you try that?”
“No.” said Francis with a pout. And the girls continued coloring with a hint of attitude seeping from both of them. I turned to work with two other students, and it wasn’t long before I heard them giggling.
“WAIT!” I said. “What is that I hear??? Are you friends again? Are you friends again?” I repeated, smiling.
“Yes!” they shouted in unison. I smiled, and kept an eye on them throughout the day.
It was during Free Play at the end of the day when I heard the voices at the Barbie house begin to escalate. I turned, and saw the co-conspirators playing there. I watched intently, ready to spring into action.
And then I heard it. Francis and Gloria…
“Wait, are we friends again? Are we friends again?” followed by an eruption of the giggles.
It's a start. It's definitely a start...
On another note, there is plenty of discussion these days over at The Motherhood. We are talking about some of the challenges that come along with raising Tweens these days. While parenting is always joyful buy never, ever easy- it’s incredible that we can share our triumphs and disasters with others who feel our pain.
I know many of you have “boys that stink”, and girls who spend endless hours preening and prancing in front of mirrors and over the bathroom sink.
Join many incredible people, including author Rosalind Wiseman over here today at noon, for a sharing of the Tween Academy- and today’s topic of Tweens and Personal Hygiene: Or lack thereof. (Wait - did I just use a colon? A COLON?)
Rosalind is the authors of several books, one in particular that I love- Queen Bees and Wannabees. Grab a coffee, and come on over.