Giving your child the chance to play with other children from preschool or playgroup can help him develop friendships.
You can start by talking with your child about who she plays with, why she likes playing with them and what they like to play. Then you can talk to the other parents about playdates, either at your home, at a local park or somewhere else that gives the children plenty of space and things to play with.
Here are some ideas for helping your child make friends during play:
Children behaving aggressively
An occasional disagreement with a friend is normal. But if shouting or hitting starts, you might need to step in and guide the children’s behaviour. In this situation, it’s important to be clear about what needs to stop and why. For example, ‘Please stop pushing each other. You’re both getting hurt’.
Sometimes your child might take some time by herself away from the play. Talking with your child – as well as watching what happens – can help you work out what’s going on.
Playing solo is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, you’ll often see two children playing alongside each other. That’s because children at this age are still learning how to play together.
But if your child seems unsure of how to join in play, is consistently left out by other children, or often doesn’t want to play with others, there are things you can do to help:
During the preschool years, children sometimes say things like ‘You’re not my friend’.
Some children might be hurt by this, and others seem able to shake it off. Often children sort things out and are ‘friends’ again minutes later.
If your child talks about problems playing with friends at preschool, it’s a good idea to talk to your child’s preschool teachers. The teachers can keep an eye on what’s happening and follow up with conversations, stories or activities.
It might help to explain to your child that it’s normal to feel lonely sometimes, and most people don’t get along with everyone they meet. Planning some playdates with other children from preschool might also help your child feel more confident about playing with everyone at preschool.