Student: Good Morning Ms. Duff and Jane.
Teacher: Oh that's so nice that you said good morning to Jane. Jane, Tina said good morning to you. What do you say?
Student: Good morning Tina! Miss Duff is this how you make friends?
Teacher: ( heart instantly melts at what is happening) Yes, this how we make friends. First we say hello and then you can begin to share things that you like.
Student: (smiles) ok.
*different names used for online purposes* #onlinelearning #5yearsold
As adults, sometimes we undervalue the importance of friendships to young children. While making friends may not be of the highest priority in our busy lives, building friendships for young children is paramount. I remember, while teaching online, a parent showed concern around their son making friends as he often said that he did not have friends, and this was a big deal for him. Which led to more intentional practices on our part to help them build friendships online.
Friendships are an extension of a child’s sense of belonging, security and confidence. Now, building friendships does not begin when a child starts school, it begins the minute infants and caregivers interact. Responding to non-verbal cues, crying, and smiling are all apart of the reciprocal process of building and maintaining relationships.
So the next time your child talks about his or her friends, pay closer attention, ask questions and help them with the tools needed to sustain and build lasting friendships.