Column by Tutu and Me
Children develop social competence in three main ways: initiating interactions, solving conflicts with others (children and adults), and maintaining ongoing friendships. Children are joining social situations, and spending more time with peers at earlier stages in their lives. Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool is a good example.
Recent studies show that the importance of forming friendships ranks second to the forming of family relationships. Friends come in all ages, shapes, colors, nationalities and religions.
Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool offers many opportunities for young children and their caregivers to cultivate friendships. Through friendships, social experiences occur that encourage children to express opinions and ideas, as well as to practice negotiations and compromises.
Try This at Home:
• Give your child skills for being a good friend such as knowing how to greet other children, taking turns at games, sharing toys, and using kind words with friends.
• Model good friendship by being a good friend to your child. Engage your child in conversation every day, just as you would a good friend.
• Make sure that your child knows the names of your friends. Let your child see you and your friends being friends.
• Acknowledge your child’s imaginary friends. Believe it or not, these “friends” serve an important purpose in some young children’s lives.
• Teach your child how to choose friends wisely. Discuss with your child how a good friend acts.
Remember, friends, just as family members, are people we care for and who care for us.
Contributions from Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, a program of Partners in Development Foundation. Tutu and Me is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.