Learning how to be a true friend takes a little coaching and encouragement, as your youngster won’t know these principles right off the bat. Biblical scriptures can help you cement these lessons in a little one’s mind. Use Proverbs 17:17 to share specific instructions with your toddler or preschooler about how a real friend acts toward others.
Explain the Scripture
Read Proverbs 17:17 to your little one to begin teaching the concept. After you read the scripture, reword it to make it more understandable for little ears. You might say, “Friends always love and help each other. Brothers and sisters step in and help in hard times.” Make sure your youngster understands the message: to always show love to friends and to support friends and family when they need help.
How Did Jesus Love?
Bring home the lesson by using real examples of Jesus during His ministry. Tell stories about Jesus, such as feeding the multitudes with the help of a young boy (John 6:5 through 13), healing the paralyzed and blind (Mark 2:1 through 12 and Mark 8:22 through 26) and loving the little children (Luke 18:15 through 17). Explain that since Jesus set this example, it makes Him happy when we learn from His example and look for ways to love and help others.
How to Help
Even the smallest people can make a big difference with efforts to show love and help others -- it’s important to help your little one understand this. Come up with some realistic ideas that your little one could try to be a loving and helpful friend and sister. If a friend loses a mitten, your little one could help search for it. If a friend is feeling sad, your little one could give her a hug. If a little brother wants a toy, your little one could share. Sure, these gestures might seem small now, but they’ll grow along with your child.
Make a helping chart to keep track of the loving gestures your child makes. Every day your little one makes a specific effort to be loving and helpful, give her a sticker. After she earns a specific number of stickers, reward her with something special, such as a trip to the library or the park or even an afternoon playing board games. This positive reinforcement can have a double bonus -- it will help instill a loving, caring attitude in your youngster while you spend valuable bonding time, too.
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