National Best Friends Day, June 8, celebrates the bonds that connect us to the most important people in our lives. Established by Congress in 1935, it waned in popularity through the years. Now, social media has driven renewed interest.
The hashtag, #nationalbestfriendsday allows social media users to track how many Instagram, Facebook and Twitter users are celebrating along with them.
Children’s author Dr. Seuss, who knew a lot about friendship, described it this way: “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Playwright Tennessee Williams offered this definition: “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”
Friendships start early in life. By the time many children are three or four, they know who their friends are and can name them. They might look for their friends when they arrive at preschool or playgroup and play only with them. This is also the age when they begin to have playdates with friends.
Most four-year-old children know the difference between ‘my friend’ and other children they know.
Some kids make friends easily. They are energized by playing together.
Others are slower to warm up and need time to watch what happens before joining in with a group.
Playing with others helps kids build friendship skills, such as sharing, taking turns, working together, listening to others, and managing differences of opinion.
Among books that encourage friendships:
Teach Your Dragon to Make Friends, by Steve Herman. This picture book for ages four to seven incorporates examples of how to make friends in an imaginary setting.
Who’s New at Lou’s Zoo? offers a whimsical take on kindness and acceptance. Author JoAnn M. Dickinson wrote it for ages five through eight.
Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea. This is the newest release of this popular series for eight- to ten year-olds by Dav Pilkey, who also wrote the “Captain Underpants” series.
Interestingly, as a kid, the author was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. He was so disruptive in class that the teacher made him sit outside the classroom. However, he loved to draw and make up stories. While he sat in isolation Pilkey began to conjure and create the stories that eventually became the popular Dog Man and Captain Underpants series.
So, go out and celebrate with your BFF today!
Written by Marilyn Ostermiller, a professional journalist who writes children’s stories.