It won't be too long before the summer holidays are over and it is time for children to return to daycare or school. The early days of daycare can be upsetting to younger children, but one way to relieve that stress is through friendship. As a parent who is sending their first child off to daycare, you have concerns about whether your child will make friends easily. Friendship from an early age is important, so find out why it is important and what you can do about it.
Why Is Friendship Important?
The early days at a daycare centre are tough on young children as they get used to not being with their parents during the day. Friendship helps to take their mind off this upset. There are other reasons why friendship is important to your child, and these reasons include:
- teaching your child how to play and share with a friend
- teaching your child to use manners with their friends, in particular saying please and thank you
- teaching your child how to negotiate gameplay with their friend
- teaching your child to communicate with others around them
The earlier your child learns these skills, the easier they are going to find their time in daycare. So what, as a parent, can you do to help them form friendships?
Helping Your Child Make Friends
Since you have time before your child begins daycare in the new year, there are several things you can do now to help them make friends more easily once they begin their daycare journey:
- sit down and play with them each day and ask them questions while they play, encourage them to verbalise what they want to play with and to use their manners
- take your child to public playgrounds or play areas at your local fast food restaurant and encourage them to talk to other children of the same age while you supervise their interactions
- consider joining a kids gym or swimming lessons now so that your child gets used to interacting with others before daycare starts.
The earlier you start introducing the idea of friendship to your child, the easier they are going to find their daycare days. If you continue to have concerns after daycare begins, talk to the teacher about other ways you can positively encourage your child to get to know the others around them. It is not unheard of for life-long friendships to begin at daycare, so every friend they make has the potential to be in their lives for a long time.