Relationships in Preschool

Children start formulating friendships when they're old enough to speak and listen. In the preschool years, roughly three to six years of age, most of the time they are not too particular about who they decide to be friends with. They are mainly interested in having fun and enjoying shared activities together. 

Sometimes those friendships can get into trouble if one child is more aggressive or domineering than another. There can be hurt feelings and tears if things don't go their way. On the other hand, children learn to negotiate relationships based on wanting to be friendly in order to get what they desire most. In this case they will be willing to compromise, take turns and agree to do activities even if they are not that crazy about them, in order to keep the fun going.

At this age, there is no deep emotional connection or degree of trust and loyalty. Everyone is out to enjoy themselves and be happy. This is one of the easier stages of development because children don’t tend to discriminate or make fun of others. They accept one another for who they are, and everyone is welcome to join in. It is only later that they might start to discriminate due to skin color, disabilities, designer versus non-designer clothes, and so on.

The relationships formed from the age of three upwards has been shown to be crucial for later success in developing harmonious friendships. Yet up to 10% of children struggle with relationships at this age. If you’re concerned your child is falling behind, try to give them as many chances as possible to mingle with other kids in a variety of settings, and they should soon be able to negotiate the trickier aspects of getting along with others.