Build a Sense of Belonging

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.