Early childhood educator Magda Gerber encouraged parents to let their children to make choices from an early age. Even when they are just infants and totally depend on us, they can show whether they want to be hold by the other person than their mother, what they want to eat, or what toy to play with. Just put some toys in front of your kid rather than giving directly into their hands and observe what they are going to do.
As your child grows, often she will start choosing friends instead of toys. With some of them she will bond quickly, while with some she will not engage at all. It would be so amusing to know which criteriahelps them make the choices! But I believe we will be left guessing… Indeed, now this little person of ours has its personality.
Friendship is very important for children. It creates the sense of safety, in fact, if a child in early childhood has at least one friend it has an immense positive impact on his psychological health. Children start learning how to connect and maintain relationships. In case of disagreements with a friend, child tries to solve a problem, which does not happen with a random kid.
Some studies have found that friendships enable children to learn more about themselves and develop their own identity.
If we recall the situations when kids talk about life with the most serious faces in the world, we shall easily agree that friendship contributes to critical thinking, self-confidence, and even altruism.
I miss these philosophical pit stops when my son was four year-old. Remember, one night I was angry that bathroom floor was full of water. He just looked through shower curtain, which was illuminated by the night’s blue sky and said to me: “Mum, just imagine blue sea and you will immediately feel peace”.
Many psychologists agree that even one friend satisfies social needs of a child. Having a friend decreases chances that a child will feel stress or be depressed.
During childhood friends equal games. I mean free play! During free play kids choose their role, rules, tools and friends to play with.
Friendship naturally happens across similar age groups. This is where adults disappear and question arises do we have a place in all of this?! We do. We can help foster new friendships and new games by setting environment where children would get inspired to play, find friends, and get creative.