Understanding Preschool Friendships: 6 Things to Know
Establishing friendships has not been easy for some children. Some of them struggle with self-control, regulation and respecting personal space. This behaviour is normal for preschoolers. Here are some insights about preschool friendships that you can learn along the way:
Understanding Preschool Social Development
They play together
Unlike the parallel play of toddlers, preschoolers actually engage in cooperative play with other children. They are capable of recognising distinctive characteristics in other children and identify similar interests using their growing linguistic skills.
They can share, but are still practicing
Sharing is a difficult skill for most children but preschoolers are becoming more aware and sensitive to the emotions of others. This can lead in increased cooperation and even sharing!
They play pretend
Pretend play is important for child development, particularly in the development of social skills. During pretend play, they need to consider their playmates’ ideas, express and listen to others, and assign roles – all essential components of being a friend. Furthermore, pretend play allows them to role play and experiment with different behaviours.
They may have a “best” friend
Preschoolers are prone to gravitate around one or two peers that they deem as “best friends”. Not to worry if this changes on a daily basis because they are still figuring out the concept of a lifetime friendship.
They may prefer a friend over mum or dad
Preschoolers may push boundaries with their parents as they gain confidence in their social skills and test the limits of their independence. It’s perfectly normal.
They can be loving and hurtful
As preschoolers become more aware of the emotions of others, they often express empathy, especially when a child is upset or sad. However, they can also be quite egocentric and often say things that unwittingly harm a friend’s feelings.
Most importantly, note that preschool years are a time of rapid growth and development in a variety of areas. There will be times when “being a good friend” is the skill your child is working on while other times it’s learning how to write etc.