How do Toddlers form social bonds ?


Yesterday being friendship day I started thinking about what friendship means for Toddlers and how are “first friendships formed”?

That made me realise that young children essentially form friendships through – PLAY. And in how they play, there are stages or we can say different types of play.

-The first stage for a toddler is Solitary play, where they like to play on their own and observe their peers around them.
-the second one, is Parallel play where they will work alongside one another but not with another.
-then they progress to Associative play which is exciting as that is where interactions begin, they participate in role-play & imitate one another
-After which at the ages of 4-6 years they start cooperative play where play is with rules. Ofcourse they will have their own version of the same rule, but yes organised play does start and deeper friendships do form.

These are the stages that children need to go through in their own time.
Also note, in the age 0-6 years you will see them move from one type of play to the others. For example, a 5-year-old will want to play with his/her block in solitary play, or in water play alongside his/her peers, or will play associative while building with his/her friend or guardian, or cooperative in games, in a group art project, or in the playground.

Our role as caregivers and facilitators is to set boundaries, in which children have the freedom to form bonds at their own pace.

I do hope that this post brought forth clarity so you don’t worry or push your children to form friendships when they may not be ready!!!

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Happy Friendship Day!


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