We all know that the early years is a critical time for children’s development. Skills learnt in the early years will shape how a child grows into an adult, and they will hold onto those early encounters with learning throughout their life.
Why is friendship important in the early years?
Friendship doesn’t happen straight away, children have to learn about social aspects relating to relationship building. Usually a child’s first encounter with friendship stems from siblings, here’s a few photos of my boys developing their relationships with each other.
it is important to give children the time that they need in order to grasp the concepts of forming relationships. Children won’t all form bonds with each other, and it’s imperative to remember that; even as adults we find people who we can’t gel with, who we don’t have the same interests as, and people that we just don’t like; that’s why it’s important to not force friendships, but let them evolve naturally.
How having friendships helps child development
When children start to form friendships at around the toddler to preschool age, it can impact children’s development greatly, depending on how the friendship forms. Friendships can be hard to maintain for adults, never mind children; and a lot of children aren’t quite ready developmentally to maintain a friendship until roughly the age of 4. Early friendships are not to be underestimated though, as they help to support children through a range of transitions as well as aiding emotional and social development and their understanding of the world that is around them.
You would definitely have noticed the bickering over toys and the bouts of frustrated tempers when children are learning about sharing; however, don’t be discouraged, as these are fantastic learning opportunities. Disagreements and conflicts occur when children don’t have the cognitive development in place to solve the problems themselves. When working with children I always remind them to use their words, the same concepts that we use at home; we keep our hands to ourselves and use our words to explain how we are feeling.
Building friendships in the early years can:
- help children feel good about themselves and raise their self esteem
- explore problem solving when facing conflict
- help aid children when adapting to early childhood environments like nurseries
- develop their social skills
- help them to notice the importance of turn taking
- be a method of learning empathy towards others
- help develop the child’s self confidence
- develop their self control and assertiveness
- develop communication and vocabulary
Friendship day 2018
Friendship day in the UK was on Monday 30th July; it’s always important to recognise days like this because they hold significant value to a lot of people. While I’m one of these people that doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day and grandparents day etc; I do think it’s important to acknowledge them.
In acknowledgement of friendship day I have teamed up with Ravensburger to offer you a Trolls 4 in a box puzzle as a competition prize! You can view the prize here.
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post answering this question.
Which is your favourite Troll?
Competition ends on the 5th August at 8pm!
UK entries only.