The Phases of Preschool Friendships (page 2)
If your child had a Facebook page would they get any friend requests? Learn about the phases of friendship that start in preschool.
What You Need To Know
In early children experts say the main ingredients in forming friendships are opportunity and similarity. To become friends, children need to be available to each other. If children are neighbors, relatives or schoolmates they will naturally spend more time together leading to a greater opportunity to form friendships. Children's social contacts increase dramatically when they enter school.
Based on research findings, we can say that children's close friendships typically progress through the following three phases:
- Play-based friends (ages 3 to 7 years): are the most common for younger children. Children are good friends when they spend a lot of time playing together, sharing toys, and enjoying the same games and activities.
- Loyal and faithful friends (ages 8 to 11 years): Loyalty, faithfulness, and generosity define close friendships during middle childhood. "He or She doesn't ignore me when other friends are around" is a common description of close friends during this second phase.
- Intimate friends (adolescence and beyond): Intimate friends share their most personal thoughts and feelings. They trust each other to keep personal secrets, and they use each other as a safe base for exploring issues and problems. During adolescence, intimacy and self-disclosure distinguish best friends from other friends. Intimacy emerges in early adolescence for girls but only in later adolescence for most boys
How You Can Help
Friendships are fun and necessary for a happier walk in life. Like adults, children are drawn to others who are like them. Friendships are more likely to form when children are similar in characteristics such as age, gender, race, attitudes and beliefs.
Help foster the friendships in your child’s life especially if it seems important to them as well.
- Set up playdates. (Invite a child and their parent for a picnic at the park)
- Find books on friendship to help your child understand the qualities of a good friend.
- Talk about your childhood friend and see if your child adds personal details on his or her friendships. (My childhood friend and I always played cars or dolls. How do you and your friend play?)
Experts say by 8th grade the most important trait of a friend is an admirable character, followed by common activities, acceptance, loyalty and commitment. Friendships can last a life time when they are made well.
For more on this topic, see the complete article:
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