Making friends comes absolutely naturally to many children. But even young children may find forming friendships a highly complex business, overlaid with social rules and expectations imposed by adults and their peer group.
Mates Traits is a set of 32 colourful, light-hearted cards that describe some of the characteristics of real friendship. Using a delightful cartoon cast of Australian birds and animals, Mates Traits attempts to unlock the strengths, attributes and understandings that go into friendship-making.
What are the strengths needed to make friendships work? What does real friendship look like? How do friends manage when they have disagreements or things don't go according to plan?
Mates Traits can be used by people of all ages to open up conversations about relationships, social skills, communication, personalities and interests. It is also a unique resource for preventing bullying and overcoming the effects of bullying on children's social confidence.
Select cards to help explore the difference between being friendly and being a friend.
Pick 3 cards that describe what some of your friends/you/your team do well. Is there a card that suggests something you'd like to improve?
Pick a card that illustrates a difficult experience you have had in a friendship (e.g. 'We have our moments'). Were you able to move forward together or did the friendship dissolve? What did you learn?
Invite everyone present at a celebration to select a card they think matches the guest of honour.
This resource is designed for anyone concerned with the role that friendships play in the maintenance of good mental health and social well-being. It is also a must for the toolkits of primary teachers, chaplains and social welfare coordinators.