In the preschool room this is a phrase we hear every now and again so I thought I would talk this month about why children say this and what we can do to help them form friendships.
Preschoolers are beginning a new stage in friendships. They are moving out of parallel play, where children aren’t really playing together but playing side by side, to forming actual friendships where they will start to participate in cooperative play.
Something we work with the children on daily is how to make friends and how to be a friend. Some skills your child needs to form friendships are:
· • An ability to express ideas and accept the ideas of others.
· • An ability to ask others to join activities or make them feel a part of the group.
· • An ability to solve conflicts.
· • An ability to pay attention to other children.
· • An ability to offer praise and affection to other children.
· • An ability to understand how their own words and actions will make other children feel.
· • An ability to approach and greet other children.
· • An ability to tell other children things about themselves.
· • An ability to ask other children things about them.
· • An ability to extend invitations to play.
These are things that we work on at school but also things that you can do at home with your children by role playing and helping your child in real life situations to gain these skills.
By preschool age, children will have a preference for particular children and start calling children their “best friend”. This is also the age where children start to tell children “you’re not my best friend!” When children say this what they may be meaning is “I can’t cope with this” or “I can’t control this!” Preschool children want things their way and when they don’t get their way they may just prefer to walk away and stop playing. They don’t always have the words to express this so they may say “you aren’t my best friend anymore.” We try to intervene before these words come out and help children find words to use to express themselves without hurting their friend’s feelings. Even when these words are said, the children are usually back to playing together and back to being “best friends” before lunch time!
- Ms. Jenn