Making friends in early childhood

10 January, 2023

Being a good friend is a lifelong skill – therefore, as with most lifelong skills, it’s best to start building it from a young age. Your child’s early childhood years will be fundamental to their friendships throughout their life. Here is how (and why) to nurture that skill.


Friendships are some of the most underrated relationships a person will have in their lifetime. Being able to not only make, but keep, good friends is a rare skill that doesn’t necessarily come naturally – it needs to be honed over time.

When it comes to knowing how to make friends, it’s a case of the sooner, the better. Your child will forge important friendships during their early childhood years and, while it may not always go to plan, every friendship can teach them something important.


How preschoolers make friends

In their preschool years, the most common way of finding friends is through play. Playing together allows children to develop key skills that will serve them into adulthood – skills like sharing, listening to others, cooperating, communicating and taking turns. The playground is an important classroom, especially when it comes to forging friendships.


How to help your children make friends

Whether your child is struggling to make friends or not, you – as their parent – have an important role to play in their learning. Note that this role should be a supporting role, rather than a leading one. Your child will choose their own friends and will learn so much more in the process than if you steer them toward or away from certain children friends.

You can help your child develop and practice key social skills like sharing and listening to others by working on these with them at home. This could mean role-playing, setting up playdates or praising good behaviour.

Be sure to model good behaviour when you are with your child, too. Ensure that they see you as a positive example of how to respect and communicate with others, including your friends and friends’ children.

Benefits of making friends in early childhood

Much like in adulthood, developing friendships in early childhood years can foster a sense of belonging and community. With close friends, your child will feel as though they fit in and have a support network beyond the home.

Friends will also teach your child how to navigate relationships beyond those with their immediate family, understanding boundaries and differences and respecting them.

Friendship can also provide a great source of stress relief. Child psychologists have even found that they can improve a child’s quality of life, and their ability to adjust to change in general.


Friendship activities for preschoolers

Wondering exactly how to develop friendship skills? Try these three friendship activities for kindergarten and preschool aged children:

  1. Show and Tell: Each child chooses their favourite item – it could be a toy, book or game – to talk about to their peers. It’s a great bonding activity and encourages social skills like listening while they get to know one another.
  2. Friendly musical chairs: Like musical chairs except, when the music stops, the children will need to sit in the same chair with a friend or pile onto laps. When the game is finished there should be only one chair remaining and the children must all be in that one chair.
  3. Say something nice: Children stand in a circle. To start, an adult tosses a light ball to one of the children while saying something nice to that child. Once that child catches the ball, they should then toss it to another child while saying something nice to them. Play continues until everyone has had a turn to say something nice to someone.


Friendships at Edge Early Learning

At Edge Early Learning, we take an inquiry-based approach to early learning. This style of dynamic learning poses questions or scenarios to your child, helping them to develop problem solving and communication skills. By fostering these skills in your child’s early years, we are giving them the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with their peers and progress to other skills that will serve them throughout their life.





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