Kids start to play with others around them as early as one year old! Toddlers have lots of amigos, but not necessarily one best friend. It’s typical for them to play with everyone instead of just a few. As they become Preschoolers, children start to ask for playdates with specific amigos, and start forming deeper social bonds. Leading up to preschool and beyond, you can help prepare your little one for navigating friendship and playing with friends! Friendship is all about communication- so here are a few tips on how to set your child(ren) up for social success!
- Asking your child(ren) if they would like to play with you is a great first step to let them know how to ask their classmates the same thing. Kids will mimic your language while you’re away!
- You can use dolls/stuffed animals as other ‘playmates’, and ask them to play as well. It’s a good way to visually show what asking others to play looks like!
- While you play together, use words and phrases like “your turn/my turn” and “would you like to share this with me?”.
- Setting expectations for your little one(s) is also important in developing friendship skills. If an amigo is coming over to play, chat with your little one about which toys they want to leave out, and which they don’t want anyone else to play with- and then put those toys away together! You can also give a start and end time to the playtime- they will play after breakfast, but go home before lunch!
Friendship looks different at every stage. Helping your little one develop their friendship skills can take some of the anxiety out of making new amigos!