Friendship and Social Skills on the Playground
Parents and teachers play a vital role in teaching the skills of friendships and inter-personal relationships. Even toddlers can learn to initiate and sustain friendship and build social skills on the playground and in the group setting.
One of the very easiest ways to find out how your child interacts with others is simply to watch them at play. Two year olds like to do parallel play, or do similar things in the same areas but not necessarily together. Increasingly with age and experience, children will learn to interact with other children, to share toys and games and to take turns.
Pre-schoolers are more intentional in making friends. They give and take away the title of “friend” varying on the activity or their mood. This can become an early “power play” to see who will be the “Queen Bee” and the “Wannabees” of the little girls on the playground.
To have a friend and to be a friend are basic needs of children and adults alike. We all want to belong. Young children who learn the skills of making friends from parents and teachers will also excel in emotional development. Those who learn to relate to the needs of others in socially acceptable ways are usually well liked and included in playground activities and school projects.
Teach Empathy and Mutual Respect
Friendship and social skills on the playground are usually learned in a one on one conversation with teacher or parent. The life lesson we want to impart is that it is not others responsibility to like us, it is our responsibility to be the kind of person and friend that others will be drawn toward and want to befriend.