For many children, daycare is the first opportunity to play with other children their own age and practice essential social skills. Children who develop these skills early on have a better chance of forging strong connections with peers in school, which is a key part of their overall happiness and success. Teachers and parents can help children develop these skills at a young age, and daycare is the perfect place to start.
Daycare teachers help to facilitate interactions by making a communal space with toys that everyone can use and activities that everyone takes part in. This requires that children learn to share and play together in a fair, reciprocal manner, which are essential parts of making friends. Parents can also facilitate these interactions during playdates where toys are all shared in the living room, backyard, or another open space.
Inevitably, a child will feel at some point that they are not treated fairly or that they are being excluded. But these conflicts are good! In daycare, children can learn to talk through problems in a safe environment, with teachers close by, and they can get support if they are not being heard.
If your child is having a tough time, listening is often the best tool. Be sympathetic to your child’s obstacles, but encourage them to come up with solutions on their own. Ask them how they interact with other children and, if the strategy isn’t working, ask them what they can do differently to change the situation. If they are struggling with the situation, give suggestions that will point them in the right direction, while still enabling their independent problem-solving skills.
Children that are nervous about saying hello or asking to be included may need more support. If you notice that your child is often alone or complains that they aren’t making friends, show them how. Use a role-playing scenario to help your child practice saying hello and asking to be included. At this age, a simple ‘hello’ goes a long way.
On the opposite side, some children are louder, more energetic, and their personalities may dominate other children. In this case, the child may need extra coaching and encouragement to ensure they allow their friends to be heard. Encouraging sharing, reminding children to listen, and demonstrating behaviors that put others first will promote empathy and help the child to consider others without changing their natural exuberance.
Heaven’s Elect ensures that every child is included and watches each child carefully to make sure that any bullying or exclusion is stopped right away. Making friends is one of the most enjoyable parts of childhood and we are proud to see children develop these friendships every day.