Children with a sense of belonging are able to make friends, cooperate, and share as well as show compassion toward others. Here are some suggestions for building a sense of belonging:
Help children appreciate the strengths of others.
- Have them share the list of their strengths with family members and classmates.
- Have them make a list of the strengths of others.
- Point out that they are not less worthy when other people do things well.
- Model appreciation by giving compliments
Treat all people with equal respect.
- Let them know that you love (like) and accept them while rejecting inappropriate behavior.
- Empathize (not sympathize) with their feelings.
Accept the beliefs, values, and opinions of others as their point of view.
- Encourage children to do the same.
- Accepting that others have a point of view does not mean that you agree or disagree with that point of view.
- It means that you understand that they have a different point of view.
Emphasize cooperation, not competition.
- Cooperative games let everyone be a winner.
- Don't keep score at all.
- It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
- Teach team members to be supportive of each other.
- Explain their worth is independent of winning or losing in a game or contest.
- Avoid competition between siblings.
Provide games and activities that promote inclusion rather than elimination/exclusion.
- Plan activities that include all family members.
- Use plays and dramatic activities that involve the whole group simultaneously.
- For oral reading, divide the total group into pairs and have the pairs read to each other.
- Organize chores so that family members can work together.
Some fun ideas
- Develop a list of phrases and statements that can be used in social settings.
- Ask your children to help plan a family outing.
- Teach your children some playground games so they can successfully play games with friends.
- Watch a TV sitcom as a family.
- As a family, do kind deeds for someone who may be lonely.
- Find pen pals for your children to write to.
- Frame family photos and hang them in your children's room.