I love watching children interact with their friends. And when you work in child care, you see a lot of different interactions!
Well today is best friend day, so let’s talk a little about children and their friendships.
Toddlers are still working on making friends. Their social skills haven’t developed enough to play cooperatively with one another, yet they still want to be with each other and “play” together. For them, their friend is anyone in the room.
As they develop a little more, you can observe them in more interactive play. Watch the dramatic play area. They really get into the role playing. At around three years old, children are playing with other children. They are beginning to understand what “friend” means and can usually name their friends.
By four, they can distinguish their friend from the rest of the group. They seek out similarities as well as mutual interests. They link up with other like minded children. Around this time they begin to really make friends and they start to have “best” friends.
Children’s friendships are important.
A child with friends usually has a healthy self-esteem. A child that has less confidence will need a little help, but the friendships they make pushes that esteem up a little more. Friends give a child an opportunity to use and develop language. They help to establish and builds relationships. Friends help a child learn social skills and it reduces anxiety that every day life can cause for some children. They help a child learn to assert herself. Friendships can help a child in far more ways than we as teachers can.
Help children build and foster friendships. Encourage relationships. Let them see you are friends with your co-workers.
It’s best friend day – Celebrate friendship!