According to an Irish Proverb, “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have”. Young children are just beginning the friend building process. As the new school year begins, our Cloverbuds are going through many changes.
One big change is that they are interacting with new friends. This age of development includes a time when the youth have many different “best friends” at one time. If there is a disagreement between children, most of the time it is short-lived.
Learning how to interact with others is an important life skill that can be taught and instilled in our Cloverbuds. It is important that we make sure they have this opportunity.
Have a conversation about what characteristics Cloverbuds have that will make a good friend. Why are these characteristics important? Some characteristics include honesty, sharing, taking turns, empathy, being a good listener, having trust, etc.
Cloverbuds can follow the 4-H pledge when making friends. As a volunteer and parent, encourage youth to be a good friend to others.
- Head: using your head to make good safe choices and being a friend to others; speak up about bullying
- Heart: be a caring Cloverbud to others, see what needs to be done and help others
- Hands: through service and helping others you will be a good friend
- Health: being with friends is good for mental health; laughing releases stress even for Cloverbuds
Youth look to adults as a positive role model, including how to interact with friends. Children will model friendship behavior such as reaching out to friends to see how they are, being supportive, and investing time and energy into your friendships. When they see that you value friends, they are more likely to do the same. Building friendships takes time, energy, and effort. Through experiences in 4-H and the Cloverbud program, friendships will blossom.
As we go throughout our lives, everyone has the same amount of time in the day. Each of us is given 24 hours to juggle and figure out how to best utilize this precious resource. Some of us like to sleep, others get up and exercise, and some rock kids to sleep from a bad dream or a teething issue in the middle of the night. At the end of the day, 24 hours is the same amount of time for all of us and if we utilize our time to our best ability, each day is a success!
As a mother of four children, I sometimes let them play on devices and screen time so that I can have some quiet, uninterrupted ME time. Maybe I’m selfish, maybe I’m a slacker of a mom, or maybe I’m just a normal mom that needs to decompress from the daily activities from work or life. It’s not always the BEST use of their time but it allows adults to have some time to process daily events.
The COVID pandemic reinforced the idea that time spent with youth is precious and important. Taking the extra time to engage with youth is vital for their development. It is also satisfying to take the time to have fun and engage with children and be an active participant in what they are doing.
Here is a simple Cloverbud activity that is important, fun and exciting, and has no “time stamp” on it. Youth can take minutes or hours to paint a picture with pudding!
Pudding Finger Paint is a fun and safe way for children to make a colorful (and tasty) painting. I love hands-on activities for kids that let children explore and use their creativity. Pudding Finger Paint is a safe way for children to make a one-of-a-kind art project.
- Vanilla Pudding
- Food Coloring
- Muffin Pan or Small Bowls
- Plastic Tablecloth (optional), cookie sheet, or waxed paper
- Prepare the Vanilla pudding according to the directions on the package. After the pudding has cooled, divide it evenly into a 6-cup muffin pan or six small bowls. (You can use ready-to-eat vanilla pudding as well).
- Add 4-6 drops of food coloring to each cup or bowl. Stir until the food coloring has blended with the pudding and it has changed color.
- Use the pudding to finger paint on a hard surface such as the kitchen table. Use a plastic tablecloth on the kitchen table or floor to contain the mess and make clean up easy or use a cookie pan or a sheet of waxed paper as the base for the painting.
- You could also use a large piece of paper (or cardstock) for the base of the project so the child can take it home or give to another family member or friend.