As children reach pre-school age they begin learning about being friends. They start wanting a buddy to play with or just be with. They begin to build connections with other children naturally, but as a parent or a carer you play an important role in this development – helping your child to understand how they can be a good friend and develop their friendships with the connections they’re making.
Watching educational based children’s television shows on CBeebies and similar channels is beneficial. A lot of the shows focus on friendships between one another, such as best friends Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka from In the Night Garden. There are other ways you can help too, such as communicating topics including:
- Sharing both toys and the attention being received
- Expressing emotions – not to hit out when angry for example
- The benefits of having friends and being good to them
- Why snatching isn’t nice
Holding small play dates with friends is extremely useful in teaching socialisation. Joining groups and clubs is also beneficial. Set up a small activity such as playing with puzzles or making a collage and be on hand to direct the play and teaching how to share through example. Remember children around the age of 3 and 4 will only be able to focus on these types of activity for around 15 minutes. When you notice signs of frustration or lack of interest be ready to change things up a bit by introducing something else into the play.
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