Although you might imagine that it's easy for small children to make friends, sometimes it just doesn't happen. Your preschooler might not understand social etiquette, which can make your child seem awkward when she tries to relate to other kids. When your preschooler learns how to develop healthy friendships, it can build self-confidence and compassion that can last her entire life. Instead of trying to force the issue, encourage your child more subtly by putting together activities that promote friendships naturally.
Collective Art Project
Instead of having your preschooler work on an art project by herself, help her build friendships by organizing a collective art project with other kids. For example, spread a giant sheet of newsprint out on a large table, then allow a group of preschoolers, including your child, to paint, color and draw on the newsprint to their hearts' content. Arts and crafts projects help loosen up children who seem shy, and calm down children who seem overactive.
Ever notice that when you pet a dog or cat, you instantly feel calm and relaxed? Pets have that magical way of reaching the spirit of people like nothing else, and can help preschoolers feel more friendly and welcoming to each other. Invite a few parents and preschoolers over to your home, along with a puppy that you know gets along with small children. The preschoolers will instantly want to pet and love on the puppy, and will inevitably laugh as the puppy tumbles around the room.
Children feel content and friendly when they feel like they have a purpose. This purpose can happen as children carry out pretend play that mimics real life. For example, as children pretend to play house, they naturally take on roles normally held by grown-ups, like a mommy with a baby or a daddy going to work. This interaction creates a natural dynamic that allows preschool-aged children to become friendly with each other with minimal effort.
Teach your preschooler a song related to making friends. For example, the song "1, 2, 3 You Are Friends With Me Song" can encourage children to feel more connected to their friends, or the traditional Girl Scout song "Make New Friends But Keep the Old," which can teach preschoolers that it is OK to make new friends and still maintain a friendship with their old friends. Organize a play group where your child and other preschoolers can join in to sing the friendship songs together.
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