preschool friendships

The Benefits of Preschool Friendships

Posted on March 29, 2019 : Posted in Early Child Care, Legacy Academy
preschool friendships

)Preschool is a time of huge leaps in development. Children this age experience growth in communication, personal responsibility, social understanding, and much more. All of these changes make preschool a ripe time for the development of friendships. In fact, it is often the preschool years when children first begin to self-identify as having friends and valuing those relationships. And these preschool friendships are important for more than just fun. They carry many benefits that will help children develop healthy relationships in the future.

Develop Empathy

Preschool friendships benefit a child by offering the opportunity to develop empathy outside of family relationships. Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in another person’s place and experience what someone else is feeling. As a child goes through the highs and lows of friendships, they learn to identify their friends’ feelings through facial expressions, body language, and verbal communication. Then, they are able to imagine how their friend is feeling and act in a way that is appropriate and sympathetic. This may mean celebrating when a friend is happy or comforting when a friend is sad. By entering into a peer’s experience, your preschooler discovers a wealth of social knowledge that is essential for relationship success in the future. Many preschoolers need a lot of assistance as they begin empathizing. Still, strong bonds with peers allow them to demonstrate and receive compassion regularly as they learn.

Establish a Sense of Self

One of the essential developments in a toddler’s brain is a separation between the child’s self and the other people they encounter. This is often represented in an assertion of their own desires (aka the discovery of the word “no”). As your toddler becomes a preschooler, the distinction between their own person and others grows and becomes more nuanced. They discover their own interests, talents, and challenges. Preschool friendships provide a child with regular feedback about the ways they are the same or different from others. Also, they provide healthy ways to compare preferences and skills. With proper guidance, preschoolers learn that a favorite color or athletic ability is not a matter of correctness or worth. Instead, variety among humans is what makes life interesting. Developing friendships with other children who are like them in some ways and unlike them in others gives preschoolers a head start on appreciating diversity and being proud of themselves.

Practice Flexibility

There is no doubt that relationships require flexibility. Preschool friendships are no different, demanding adaptation through sharing, conflict resolution, and compromise. While preschool-aged friends often squabble and need assistance to navigate conflict well, these minor disagreements teach them valuable skills. Learning that you cannot always get your way is vital to success in the world. At the same time, developing the ability to find a solution that benefits everyone is even more important. Even in these earlier years, friendships lay the groundwork for flexibility and adaptability in the future.

Rehearse Essential Social Skills

Almost everything we learn in life requires practice. Learning a language, memorizing math facts, repairing electronics, and countless other life skills demand repetition for mastery. Social skills, including all the healthy ways we interact with others, are no different. In fact, because of the nuance and wide range of these skills, they require more practice than most. Preschool friendships form the foundation for a lifetime of learning and practicing important social skills. From introductions and conversation to apologies and sharing, preschool-aged children begin rehearsing the rules and standards of expected behavior. With guidance from trusted adults, small children practice social norms over and over again until they become second nature.

The ability for preschoolers to safely navigate the social learning process with peers gives them extra advantages. In learning together at a similar pace, the children begin to rely on each other and develop their first bonds outside of caretakers and family. This is an important step as they move toward elementary school and away from their fully-reliant baby years. If you are looking for childcare in a place that offers your child support as he or she navigates these early friendships, consider Legacy Academy Snellville. Call or visit today for more information.