The Benefits of Building Friendships

We normally think about our children’s friends as other children whom they play and have fun with, like Casey Rose and the Joybug. But, friends play a more important role in your child’s emotional, social and academic development. They can promote positive and happy emotions.

Friends help your child do better in school. Research conducted through UNC-Chapel Hill showed that, even for students in the first grade, interactions with peers and academic achievement are linked to each other. Further research revealed that, as early as 3 – 5 years of age, peers have an influence on the literacy and language skills of children, and helps them learn freely and joyfully each day.

Friends help your child become a better person. Self-confidence, generosity, and social competence are among the traits that are positively related to having friends. On the flip side, research has shown that children with psychiatric problems have a limited circle of friends, and do not participate often in activities with friends.

The type of friendship changes as a child grows up. Pre-school, children become friends by spending a lot of play time together, sharing toys, and enjoying the same activities. Research shows that when the child enters school, the time spent with peers triples. Children at this age tend to make friends with others of similar gender, age, race, beliefs and attitudes.Joy Kids Making Friends

A “best friend” is somewhat different for a child as time passes. Ask a pre-schooler who his best friends are and the list gets longer until he reaches 11 years old. Then he becomes more choosey. In one oft-cited study, children in the first grade mentioned having common activities as their reason for considering someone a best friend. By the time they reach the eighth grade, the most important criteria for a best friend became the person’s character. Other criteria were: common activities, loyalty, commitment and acceptance. Interestingly enough, none of the children in the study mentioned physical attractiveness as a reason for choosing a best friend. Casey Rose is outgoing and curious, she’s eager to explore the unique universe around her with her best friend, the Joybug.


Let Your Individuality Shine & Own It

My friend Kyra recently shared  a story with me that makes me smile every time I think about it.  We met for a lunch a few months ago once our kids were back in school.  Most of my friends have children and as parents there is always a story or two involved centered around your kids.  In this case it was Mia, her youngest daughter. Mia is a spunky little girl who greets me with a big smile every time I see her.  She is confident, outgoing and somewhat fearless.  She wakes up smiling and loving life.

September is always school picture time at our grade school.  The dreaded school picture with the staged pose and the bland blue or grey background.  There usually isn’t an ounce of creativity or artistic expression involved.  That is, until the photographer met Mia.

Kyra and Mia were discussing what she should wear for picture day and the conversation went something like this.

Kyra: So what are you thinking you’d like to wear for your school picture? Keep in mind you are only going to see from your waist up in the picture.

Mia: Hmm… (Thinking face)

Kyra:  Maybe you could wear a nice bow in your hair.

Mia: A huge smile comes across her face and her eyes light up.  I know!  I’m going to wear my kitty cat ears!

Kyra: Your kitty cat ears? I’m pretty sure she also said something in Spanish under her breath. (Kyra tries to maintain  her composure while pondering how she is going to change Mia’s mind about the cat ears).  How about I make you a nice hair bow with rainbow ribbon? (knowing she loves rainbow colors)

Mia:  Frowns. No I want to wear my kitty cat ears.

Kyra:  You do realize this 3rd grade picture will be in your grade school yearbook for all time.

Mia: Grins, Yep!

Let Your Individuality Shine & Own It

Let Your Individuality Shine & Own It

Most parents like to have a little creative control over what their child wears, especially during the grade school years when it’s a little easier to control.  However, there is something to be said for letting their little lights shine, and you can always say I told you so later.  On a side note, the photographer did ask her if it was okay with her mother for her to wear the kitty cat ears.

I don’t know of a person who hasn’t looked at a past picture of themselves and thought what was I thinking.  This applies to pretty much every picture of me taken during the 80′s.   There are also times you wear something you love and feel confident even though it doesn’t fit a certain norm.  What were your kitty cat ears?  Please share in the comments.

Reprinted with permission by Dawn Pasco of Joyful Scribblings.  Checkout the wonderful content at

Dawn Pasco, Joyful Scribblings

Dawn Pasco, Joyful Scribblings










Joy Kids Universe helps to provide a positive foundation for parents and caregivers that inspires young children to learn to LOVE without judgment, to CREATE without limits, and to LEARN freely and joyfully each day.

Being Silly Can Bring Smiles

Happy thoughts bring great, big smiles!  If you’ve ever posted a wacky selfie, you know how refreshing being silly can be. Acting silly, like dancing as if there’s no one else around, gives you a chance to break out of the straight jacket you’re often forced to wear in a world that worships conformity. It’s an opportunity to drop the mask, let down your hair, and break loose for a while. Have fun like Casey Rose and the Joybug!

Call it goofing off, acting funny, or being weird, silliness is the stuff that makes circus clowns, comedy shows and even cartoons bring smiles to our faces, and to the faces of those around us. That acting silly has powerful therapeutic effects is something that psychotherapists, doctors like “Patch” Adams, and practical joke groups like Improv Everywhere have proven, to the delight of people all over the world, especially those going through traumatic experiences.

Being Silly Can Bring Smiles

Being Silly Can Bring Smiles

When raising a child, acting silly while roughhousing can help create deep bonds of love, and establish strong connections between parent and child. It even helps when you’re alone and down in the doldrums, by shaking off the stress that the daily grind brings. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised to discover that being silly at times isn’t as silly as it sounds.

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