Most kids have an instinctive need to create friends, and if left to their natural devices, they’ll spontaneously form connections and benefit much from them. However, there are numerous factors that can cause some trouble for children to form friendships at an early stage. In that case, there are multiple ways in which you may support children when they need help acquiring the abilities needed to deal with childhood friendships, especially when they are younger.
What are the benefits of childhood friendships?
Now, you may wonder why it is essential or advantageous to help your child form friendships early in their childhood when they can do it themselves as they grow. But, developing and preserving connections from early childhood has a lot of advantages. Here are a few examples:
- The development of children’s emotional and social skills is supported through early childhood friendships.
- A child’s potential for empathy and generosity is increased by friendships.
- In addition to promoting a good attitude on life, having friends increases happiness, wellbeing, and self-confidence.
- Stress levels are reduced by healthy friendships.
- Learning how to communicate is a requirement for making friends, which is aided by early childhood friendships.
- Good behaviour can be encouraged through healthy friendships.
We are all aware that friendships are seldom easy. Children of all ages can occasionally struggle with issues pertaining to friendships, but young children in particular, frequently require greater assistance in handling specific concerns related to forming and maintaining friendships. Here are some ideas that’ll help you in encouraging your preschooler to form healthy childhood friendships:
Model what a good friendship behaviour looks like
Practising what you preach always turns out to have a positive influence on your kids. Be a good role model for the behaviour you want to promote. This calls for having respectful, pleasant, and cooperative interactions with your coworkers in front of your children. In fact, it is also essential for kids to see a good friendship between their parents as they spend the most of their time with them.
One of the guiding principles of a nursery ought to be politeness towards everyone. Encourage the kids to communicate with one another and the staff in a pleasant manner, for instance by showing them the proper approach to make requests.
Although teaching younger children to wait for their turn and share their belongings can be challenging, these social skills are essential for developing connections. You can begin with the basics when it comes to sharing and taking turns. For instance, you can tell moral stories associated with sharing and caring, you can reward them sometimes, etc.
Activities for small groups are effective at encouraging youngsters to play collaboratively. The finest hobbies are those that don’t involve competition; collaborating on an endeavour (like an artwork) is a terrific way to foster social skills. Group activities also promote formation of certain soft skills like problem-solving, leadership, effective communication and much more.
Use the pre-existing resources
Utilise the nursery’s resources to dig through friendship-related concerns. Find several books about friendship, read them with the kids, and have a discussion about them. Get the kids to perform the tales themselves using toys or puppets. Sometimes, a tale about a good friendship or a role play of two puppets from childhood often stick around as life-time memories.
Encourage and praise
Acknowledge and comment on positive behaviour toward other kids and explain what happened simply so that the kids can understand, for example, “offering Kaira the piece of cake when she asked for it was a really kind thing to do”.
Things to consider
It’s crucial to remember that preschoolers are only beginning their journey toward learning how to form friendships. At this point, the focus is on identifying the skills they may be having trouble with and providing them with assistance so they can start working on them. For a variety of reasons, some kids will find making friends easier than others. Consider the following ideas while thinking about how you may encourage friendships among preschoolers:
The greatest way for kids to learn is to solve problems on their own. With older preschoolers in particular, it’s worth waiting to step in during disagreements or discussions to see if they can settle them without your help. Naturally, you must intervene if someone is being harmed or if the disagreement keeps happening.
Children may choose not to participate in a group for a variety of reasons. They might not know how to do it, they might be reluctant to play with certain specific kids, or the other kids may not be allowing them to participate. Determine the cause as you observe, then tackle the problem appropriately. Don’t be tempted to force kids to participate all the time; rather, be aware that many kids need time to play alone, apart from other kids.
In light of this, consider the fact that each child has a unique personality when determining how to encourage their development of friendship skills. Others need to observe for a while and gain understanding of what is going on before participating in, but some kids are highly self-assured and will leap right into such an activity or group. Some kids exhaust themselves or get overburdened more quickly than others.
Younger kids are attracted to others who have similar interests to them, whether it be playing the same games or having the same toys as them. Their alliances are probably going to shift as their interests do.