The Importance of Friendship in Preschool

The Importance of Friendship in Preschool by Alexandra Louis
Posted on 10/30/2018
Friendship

Preschool is the age when children start to make friends and build relationships with their peers. We know that friendship is important during the early years because this is the time they learn about the ‘give and take’ of relationships. By sharing experiences, feelings, and interacting with one another, children learn how to meet the social needs of others and of their own.

In preschool, children start to play more with others and begin to form friendships. They learn how to take turns, share, and include others at home or in their classroom. Doing what other children may want to do, understanding the way others may feel, and playing group games and participating in group activities, are some of the first things children do when learning how to build and develop friendships.

Friendship Skills Children are Learning

Skill
 Example
 Patience When children wait for their turn, take turns and share with others.
 Communication Talk and listen to others.
 Empathy Respond to others’ feelings with understanding and take the perspective of others.
 Consideration Say please and thank you, and are helpful to those around them.
 Play Skills Make suggestions for play roles and ideas.
 Social Skills Learn cooperation, communication, empathy, responsibility, and emotional control.

Being a Positive Role Model

Provide opportunities for children to experience all the aspects of friendship, which are beneficial to their overall development and learning. Making friends can be hard, especially for young children who may not know how to share their feelings or emotions with others. As an educator or parent you can be a positive role model and show children the right ways to interact with others. As a caregiver, you can support your child’s friendships by:

  • Providing encouragement
  • Modelling reciprocity and empathy for others
  • Showing how to include others in play
  • Having play dates and providing opportunities for your child to meet others
  • Talking and listening to your child

Great Books for Preschoolers About Friendship

Any of these books will be a great addition to your library to help teach preschoolers the values of friendship.

How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?

By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

how do dinosaurs play with their friends
This is the perfect book for teaching your preschooler about how friends are generous, kind, thoughtful and caring.

Friends

By Helme Heine

friends by helme heine
This is a great book for teaching children about friendship and how to be a good friend - like “good friends are always fair”. The story follows three best friends who go on an outing together, where they pretend to be pirates, discover a boat, pick cherries and play hide-and-seek.

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.

Make suggestions for play roles and ideas.
Make suggestions for play roles and ideas.