As childminders, it is our role to encourage the developing friendships we see among the young children we look after. As we help young children learn the social rules of joining in with other children (such as taking turns and sharing) we watch them learning how to make and keep friends.
At two years old, it is normal for children to play alongside rather than actually with other children. Proper friendships with other children form from about three. This is the age at which children first develop the ability to respond to the wishes and feelings of others, and to think about things from someone else’s point of view. Four and five year olds will want to choose their own friends and by five it is hoped that most children are capable of forming and maintaining friendships.
Childminders can help small children by teaching them to be aware of their own feelings so that they can learn to be sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others. Talk with children about what would they do if they made someone feel unhappy. Talk about saying sorry. Praise and reward all good behaviour. Challenge bullying in any form – it is not acceptable and does lasting damage.
What are the key points I should tell the children?
- It’s nice to make friends
- Treat others as you would like to be treated
- Share and take turns and people will like you
- Include other children in your games
- Learn to respect differences
- Bullying is unacceptable
Products that can help you to explore ‘friendship’ themes