Learning to make friends with other children is an important part of developing social skills, and while your little one may have thrown tantrums by smacking, scratching or biting during their naughty two’s, your toddler is now ready to learn, share, cooperate and make friends. But younger children don’t just walk up to another child in the playground and say, “hey there, want to play?” Learning to make friends involves conversational skills, body language skills, and basic friendship skills, such as offering to help or share. And these skills do not come easily to all children – they need help with them. That said, here are 4 brilliant tips for making and keeping friends in preschool.
#1 Set up playdates
For a little person whose best friend is a soft toy called Peanut or Cuddles, the first day at preschool can be a mix of dread and insecurity. While you can’t make friends for your little one, you can help them by setting up play dates with other kids who will go to the same school. You can do this by asking your little one who they like at their school, ask what they like to play with that friend, and set up a playdate in the park or at your home.
#2 Model friendly behaviour for your children
Little people are wired to play, but social skills don’t come naturally. Younger children often have trouble taking turns, sharing, and controlling their anger, especially when they don’t get their way. However, you can change this behaviour by showing them how you interact with your friends, your family members and your partner. Teach them how to be kind and show them how to be caring and how to give by making sure they see how you talk to others when they need your help.
#3 Read books about friendship
In children’s literature, friendship is a common theme, and reading books about friendship is a great way to teach young kids about how to make friends and keep them as lifelong friends. When reading the books, stop to ask questions about what you’ve just read and if they agree and what they would do differently if they found themselves in the same situation.
#4 Teach your child good manners
Manners can go a long way in making friends, and if there is anyone who can teach them the best, its mom and dad. Along with the basic please and thank you, teach them empathy, consideration, and concern. Coach them on what they would do if someone takes their toy away, when another child is nasty to them, when they want a toy that another child is already playing with, and what they should do when a friend has an accident or gets upset. All of the above can help them make friends for life.
As one of the leading preschools in the Johannesburg area, we understand the concerns parents have when their little ones start preschool. While one of the main objectives of preschool is to teach kids how to become independent – with a little help from yourself – not only will we help your child make friends, but we’ll help them make friends for life. To learn more, contact us today.