Helping Children Build Friendships

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

The relationships we form with other people are critical to our happiness and early childhood is the time when we learn how to make friends.

Young children are naturally focussed on themselves, but this isn’t because they are selfish. Before the age of three children struggle to see the world through the eyes of another person which can be an obstacle to making friends. This is why young children ‘parallel play’ alongside rather than with each other. They love to watch what another child is doing but often will not talk or play together. This is perfectly normal behaviour.

Then they turn three and it all changes!

Children start to recognise that other people have a different world view to them. This realisation opens up the wonderful world of friendship which brings so much joy for the rest of our lives.

Forming friendships isn’t always easy. Even as adults we forget to take turns, listen to others and manage our strong emotions such as jealously, anger and frustration.

All adults in a child’s life play an important role in modelling good relationships and helping to teach a child how to do this themselves. This is where Pre-Kindergarten can help.

In a Pre-Kindergarten setting Educators play an important role in helping young children to learn these lifelong friendship making skills. Educators support children to express their thoughts and feelings, have confidence to speak to a group and to take risks in approaching other children or tackling activities when they feel shy.

It’s important that an individual child is not lost in a large group. Smaller centres allow Educators to spend more time talking and engaging with your child, responding to their needs and modifying their experiences to suit their individual level.

About the Author

Angela Davey is the founder and manager of Playful Learners Child Care. She holds an Honours Degree in Psychology (Early Childhood Development) and oversees the development of Playful Learner’s Pre-Kindergarten program.

If you would like to talk with Angela about how Playful Learners Pre-Kindergarten program may benefit your child she can be reached on 0499 775 670 or email


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