Supporting your children’s friendships

Tracy from The Children’s Workshop discusses the following reasons why supporting your child’s social life is very important to their growth and development.

Friends are a boost to their self-esteem, build their character, and more often than not, they’re great influences.

Parents who have open communication set the tones for how their children develop friendships as they grow.

Get to know your child’s friends:

  • Knowing who your child is hanging out with and playing with helps them to develop important life skills and learn how to get along with other children and adults. In the preschool years, you can see how your child interacts with other children. Parents can be part of parent groups and playdates. This helps at an early age to resolve conflict, help to develop social skills, and can help your child if they are overbearing. Early play groups and social settings are the first step to forming long-lasting friendships.

How parents can help:

  • Some children get frustrated very easily or only like to do what they want to do. Friendship is just like creating a master piece; you need to work at it. As parents, we don’t like to see our children hurt, so have conversations with your child; what upset them, what can they do that differently? Speak to your child’s teacher and ask them how they get along with other children. Connecting through conversation helps your child to understand how they have realistic disagreements and how to talk about them to their friends. Sometimes, adults feel that children should work out their differences themselves. Children sometimes need some modeling and coaching during some tough times to help them get over a quarrel or misunderstanding. Children do need to learn how to resolve conflict, but also need guidance in how to do it.

Technology:

  • Today, children have access to cell phones, computers, and other electronics. We need to give children opportunities to talk face to face. We need to try and teach our children that human contact is more important than a text message. By giving your child opportunities where they must interact, this will help them to have a better social life and less of a computer-driven, technology-reliant lifestyle.

Family:

  • Friendships are very important for children, but this starts at home. Siblings and cousins are the roots of where friendships start. Parents can use friendships and how to bounce back when something doesn’t go the way they planned with a friend. If a friend moves away, how to keep long distance friendships.

Importance of socialization in an early childhood facility:

  • Socialization starts at infancy. Children can foster friendships that grow with them. Help your child to learn from friends, cognitively and socially. Making friends is part of development where they learn from other friends and educated teachers. Not only does your child benefit from a high-quality learning environment such as TCW, but parents also make long-lasting friends in this setting.

It is hard to see the benefits of friendships at an early age, but they foster understanding of the world around them, how to work through problems, and how to socialize as they get older. Don’t underestimate your child’s friendships.

Resources: Parent Magazine, PBS Kids, and Kids Matter.


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