How the Curlimals can help form healthy relationships for kids
Like most social skills, developing the skills to form healthy relationships is something that requires time and patience.
It is learnt through observations of others, as well as organically, through interactions with peers.
Supporting your child to develop these skills in an age-appropriate way, is important for the forming of long-term healthy relationships in later life.
This article aims to explore the different skills that are needed to support the formation of healthy relationships for children both with and without additional needs.
Further, it will take a look at how the Curlimal woodland friends can help you to support your child in developing these important social skills.
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship is one that is built around positivity, respect and encouragement.
The formation of these relationships starts at a young age and evolves and refines as a child moves through each developmental stage.
For example, a relationship that is formed when a child is in preschool may resemble more of an ‘in the moment’ friendship, with the primary aim of the children being to have fun together.
Despite the mentality of the child at this stage, it is important as parents to try and instil the values that are important in the development of positive relationships.
For example, teaching children the importance of sharing and being kind to each other are both vital components of building relationships based on respect and positivity.
As a child matures, the development of more long-term friendships begins to be seen, with relationships in adolescence being significantly more complex, with emotional attachments being seen at its very core.
At all points in this developmental journey, however, a positive relationship with peers helps to develop resilience in children which is beneficial in encouraging positive mental wellbeing and a healthy mindset.
Supporting your child to develop these skills is vital and the most effective way to do this for younger children is through play.
How can Curlimals help my child to form healthy relationships?
The Curlimals are designed for children aged between three and five years of age and therefore make these the perfect toy for exploring and developing these important social skills with your child.
Children at the lower end of this age range, have limited capacity to be able to understand things from someone else’s perspective.
Introducing the Curlimals into your play sessions can aid in the discussion around the feelings of others and the importance of kindness in developing relationships, which is vital for children within this age range.
These woodland friends come in three different designs.
Higgle Hedgehog, Bibi Bunny and Blue Badger will be sure to delight any child given one.
They are cute, they are fluffy and importantly, they are responsive to the actions of your child. If your child strokes their Curlimal, they respond by humming contently. If they rub their nose, they sniff and sneeze.
What is important here is that a child at this stage can begin to understand how their actions influence their Curlimal friend.
For those children with additional needs who may struggle with recognising non-verbal cues, the Curlimals family would be a great addition to your toy collection. It would support you in exploring with your child the impact of their actions as well as delivering the platform for discussions around appropriate responses to social situations.
If your child becomes easily frustrated during play sessions, then using the Curlimal in play will help spark a conversation about how their peers might feel when your child reacts out in frustration.
Have a conversation with your child by saying things such as ‘you’re being such a kind friend to Bibi Bunny’ and follow this by asking questions such as ‘how do you think Bibi Bunny feels when you are kind to him?’
Ask whether he is happy or whether he is sad and ask why they think he feels this way. These types of discussions will help all children, regardless of ability, to begin to understand some of the basic principles of socialising and develop an understanding of the impact of their behaviours.
If your child struggles to know how to verbally engage with their peers in order to build these positive relationships, then the Curlimals will support development in this area also.
Being able to ask questions as well as listen to the points of view of others, are vital to creating these healthy, positive relationships.
All three of the characters being able to say phrases such as ‘I love you, ‘you’re my bestie’ and ‘tickles please!’ delivers an opportunity in which you can encourage your child to reply.
When the Curlimal says ‘you’re my bestie’ ask your child how they feel when they hear that. Encourage them to reply to their Curlimal friend and discuss with them how they should respond.
They may not know the answer to this at first, but with practice and encouragement, your child will begin to develop the verbal skills that are important in the formation of relationships that are caring, positive and mutually respectful.
Being able to form healthy relationships with peers at a young age is important not only for your child’s mental health but also for ensuring that they have the knowledge and skillset to take them into their adult relationships too.
It is never too early to develop these skills in your child and the Curlimals are the perfect toy to support you in doing this.