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friendship

The "kind can" is a tool for helping kids connect with others.

This article has been updated to include the original Kind Can post.

At some point, most parents have to field questions, concerns, worries, anxieties, angst and sometimes downright despair from our kids over their relationships with other kids. Friendships can be messy. Bullying is a thing. When you pool together a couple dozen kids who are growing and changing and figuring out their emotions for most of the day, all manner of relational dynamics can occur.

Navigating the social landscape with our kids isn't easy. Each child is unique, some are more sensitive or aware of what's happening than others, and some need assistance with figuring out how to handle tough social situations. As parents, we don't want to swoop in and solve their problems, but we also don't want to leave them rudderless in a storm. We want to provide them with the tools and help them build the skills they'll need to steer their own ship.

One tool that can help a kid who is struggling to connect with their peers is intentional kindness. However, a blanket admonition to "be kind" is often too vague to help a kid in the midst of a social crisis. That's why one parent's "kind can" idea has gone viral—it offers a specific way to practice kindness in a way that's not overwhelming.

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