The Importance of Friendship in Preschool
In preschool is when your children begin making friends and build relationships along with their peers. We all realize that our children developing friendships is important during your child’s early years as this is an important time when they learn to ‘give and take’ in a relationship. By the sharing of experiences, interacting with one another, feelings, your child learns how to meet the social needs of other people and their own.
While in preschool, children will start playing more with other children and begin the forming of friendships. It is here that they start to learn to share, take turns, and include others in their classroom and at home too. They will be doing what other children might want to do, start playing some group games, participating in the group activities, beginning to understand how others feel, which are all some of the things your child learns as they learn how to develop and build friendships.
Friendship Skills Children are Learning
|Patience||When children are waiting for their turn, taking turns and sharing with others.|
|Communication||Talking and listening to others.|
|Empathy||Responding to others’ feelings with understanding and taking the perspective of others.|
|Consideration||Learning to say please and thank you, and being helpful to those around them.|
|Play Skills||Make suggestions for role-playing and giving ideas.|
|Social Skills||Learning cooperation, empathy, communication, responsibility, and controlling emotions.|
Being a Positive Role Model
It will provide your child with opportunities to begin to experience all the aspects of friendship, those that are beneficial to developing and learning overall. For young children that may not have learned how to share their emotions and feelings yet, making friends can be hard. As a parent, you can be a positive role model and show your child how to interact with others. You can show how to support your child’s friendships by:
- Modeling empathy and reciprocating for others
- Sharing playdates and giving opportunities so your child can meet others
- Give your child encouragement
- It will show your child how to include others in playing
- By listening and talking to your child
- Classroom Friendship Activities for Preschoolers
Circle/Group Time Ideas
What is a Friend?
When you have group time, ask your child what they think a friend is and you write their answers on a piece of paper taped to a board. To further explain their answers, ask the child what friends should do for each other. By asking this question, it will provide an opening for a further discussion about friendship.
- Block Centre Ideas
- Team Building: Make a variety of blocks available to the children and encourage them to build a house, castle, or a tower together. It will allow the children a chance to work as a team to build something and take turns while sharing the blocks they have been given.
- Artwork Ideas
- Friendship Chain: Provide the kids with some different colors of construction paper that has pre-drawn lines and some without the lines and give them some scissors. Ask them to cut the construction paper along the lines into strips. Guide the kids as they glue the links together in a friendship chain. Now hang this on the wall to remind the kids how it was when they worked as a group.
As preschoolers learn how important friendships are and the ‘give and take’ of their relationships, parents can support these new skills by giving opportunities for them to start experiencing all the different aspects of friendship.
As preschool children learn the importance of friendship and the ‘give and take’ of relationships, we as parents and educators can support these skills by providing opportunities for children to experience all the aspects of friendship.